Dems introduce ‘Buy America’ amendment to water bill

Dems introduce ‘Buy America’ amendment to water bill
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A group of Democratic senators is planning to introduce a “Buy America” amendment to a waterways bill after House GOP leadership stripped the language from the final package.


Sens. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinK Street navigates virtual inauguration week Senate Democrats call on Biden to immediately invoke Defense Production Act Seven Senate races to watch in 2022 MORE (D-Wis.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSenators introduce bill to award Officer Goodman the Congressional Gold Medal Senate panel unanimously advances Yellen nomination for Treasury Senate Democrats file ethics complaint against Hawley, Cruz over Capitol attack MORE (D-Ohio) and Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyDemocrats looking to speed through Senate impeachment trial Capitol Police officer hailed as hero for drawing rioters away from Senate chamber Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect MORE Jr. (D-Pa.) are leading the last-ditch effort to require American iron and steel products be used in certain drinking water projects.

They want to reattach the provision to a nearly $12 billion Water Resource Development Act (WRDA), which authorizes dozens of infrastructure projects around the country and is on track to pass the House this week.


“I’m not giving up on this fight,” Baldwin said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “Why would we pass a bill that only benefits Russian and Chinese steel corporations when we could be providing certainty to American manufacturers of steel and iron?”

During final negotiations on the waterways bill, Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBiden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from Inauguration Day Revising the pardon power — let the Speaker and Congress have voices MORE (R-Wis.) was responsible for dropping the provision from the package, sources familiar with the negotiations told The Hill last week. The language was included in the Senate-passed WRDA measure but not in the House version.

Critics of the steel provision worry that directing federal funding to some companies over others would create an unfair system of winners and losers.

But supporters say Ryan's push to drop the language is directly at odds with President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMcCarthy says he told Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene he disagreed with her impeachment articles against Biden Biden, Trudeau agree to meet next month Trump planned to oust acting AG to overturn Georgia election results: report MORE’s promise to support American manufacturers and create jobs for the middle class.

Trump, who has remained silent on the issue, said last week his own infrastructure plan would “buy American and hire American.”

“He really needs to stick to that promise and take a stand right now,” Baldwin said.

Democrats are calling on Republicans to reinstate the provision before it even reaches the Senate, where the Buy America amendment is unlikely to receive a floor vote. The House would have to come back in session to approve any Senate-made changes before it can be cleared for the president’s signature.

If the language remains out of the water bill in the House, as is expected, Baldwin said “we would ask [Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump impeachment trial to begin week of Feb. 8 Democrats float 14th Amendment to bar Trump from office Biden signals he's willing to delay Trump trial MORE (R-Ky.)] to make it in order and we’d ask the House to stay around to make sure we could complete the process.”

Regardless of the outcome, however, the Buy America fight may foreshadow future showdowns between the incoming administration and Republican leadership, as some of Trump’s trade policies have been in conflict with the GOP.

“President-elect Trump’s core promises are coming under fire, not from Democrats, but from his own Republicans in Congress,” Sen. Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDivide and conquer or unite and prosper Roe is not enough: Why Black women want an end to the Hyde Amendment National Guard back inside Capitol after having been moved to parking garage MORE (D-N.Y.) told reporters Tuesday.  “This week we’re beginning to see the fault lines emerge, the divisions that will dominate Washington next year.”

--This story was updated at 4:45 p.m.