Dems press Trump for 'Buy American' proposals in infrastructure plan

Dems press Trump for 'Buy American' proposals in infrastructure plan
© Greg Nash

A group of Democratic senators is pushing President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Don Lemon explains handling of segment after Trump criticism NPR reporter after Pompeo clash: Journalists don't interview government officials to score 'political points' Lawyer says Parnas can't attend Senate trial due to ankle bracelet MORE to include "Buy American" and "Hire American" proposals in his long-awaited infrastructure plan.

In a letter to the president dated Friday, nine Democrats and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersNew campaign ad goes after Sanders by mentioning heart attack Biden on whether Sanders can unify party as nominee: 'It depends' Steyer rebukes Biden for arguing with supporter he thought was Sanders voter MORE (I-Vt.), who caucuses with the Democratic Party, argued Trump must include these principles to deliver on his promises to American manufacturers and the middle class.

“As you draft your infrastructure proposal, we encourage you to not only protect existing ‘Buy America’ laws, but to work with Congress to expand these protections and address coverage gaps,” the lawmakers write.

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“In addition, no infrastructure proposal should allow circumvention of current requirements in federal law that ensure our public infrastructure is built with American-made iron, steel, and manufactured materials by workers who are paid a fair wage.”

Sens. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinSenators ask FDA to crack down on non-dairy milks, cheeses Senate fails to get deal to speed up fight over impeachment rules Lawmakers introduce bill to bolster artificial intelligence, quantum computing MORE (D-Wis.) and Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzBiden calls out Iowa GOP senator's impeachment comments: 'She spilled the beans' Democrats: McConnell impeachment trial rules a 'cover-up,' 'national disgrace' Overnight Defense: Book says Trump called military leaders 'dopes and babies' | House reinvites Pompeo for Iran hearing | Dems urge Esper to reject border wall funding request MORE (D-Hawaii), who sit on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, both signed the letter. The other signatories are Sens. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyLawmakers warn US, UK intel sharing at risk after Huawei decision Democratic senator on proposal to read Bolton manuscript in classified setting: 'Total bulls---t' Republicans show little enthusiasm for impeachment witness swap MORE (D-Conn.), Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseySenate Democrats launch investigation into Trump tax law regulations Advocates call for ObamaCare open enrollment extension after website glitches The US needs to lead again on disability rights MORE Jr. (D-Pa.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden on whether Sanders can unify party as nominee: 'It depends' Overnight Health Care — Presented by Philip Morris International — HHS has no plans to declare emergency over coronavirus | GOP senator calls for travel ban to stop outbreak | Warren releases plan to contain infectious diseases Biden lines up high-profile surrogates to campaign in Iowa MORE (D-Mass.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSchiff sparks blowback with head on a 'pike' line Sunday shows - All eyes on Senate impeachment trial Senate Democrat: 'Fine' to hear from Hunter Biden MORE (D-Ohio), Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowSenate fails to get deal to speed up fight over impeachment rules The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial John Lewis to miss Martin Luther King Jr. Day event MORE (D-Mich.), Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenOvernight Defense: White House threatens to veto House Iran bills | Dems 'frustrated' after Iran briefing | Lawmakers warn US, UK intel sharing at risk after Huawei decision Biden: 'I sure would like Michelle to be the vice president' Foreign Relations Democrats 'deeply frustrated' after Iran briefing MORE (D-N.H.) and Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyOvernight Defense: White House threatens to veto House Iran bills | Dems 'frustrated' after Iran briefing | Lawmakers warn US, UK intel sharing at risk after Huawei decision White House Correspondents' Association blasts State for 'punitive action' against NPR Senate Democrat demands State Department reinstate NPR reporter on Pompeo trip MORE (D-Ore.).

Trump has long promised to include “Buy American, Hire American” proposals in a plan to rebuild America’s roads, bridges and transit systems, even expressing support last year for Democratic legislation that would increase federal requirements to use American-made iron and steel in some drinking water-infrastructure projects.

But the senators point out that a report Trump detailed during a trip to Wisconsin last April to sign his "Buy American, Hire American" executive order was due in November and has yet to be finished. 

“We urge you to expedite its completion and publicly share its findings with fellow supporters of ‘Buy America’ policy in Congress in order to achieve our shared goals,” the lawmakers write. 

"Buy American" supporters are worried that the Trump administration’s infrastructure plan puts too much emphasis on states and local governments raising their own funds, which would not be subject to federal "Buy American" standards.

Trump is expected to discuss the administration’s infrastructure proposal during Tuesday’s annual State of the Union address, with a plan soon to follow. But a leaked memo purporting to include the administration’s principles suggests half of the plan's appropriations would go toward an incentive program to promote private and local investment in projects through grants. A quarter of the appropriations would be for a program dedicated to promoting investment in rural areas.

The president said last week he would discuss a $1.7 trillion infrastructure package during his speech in front of Congress. The White House has proposed using $200 billion in federal money for an infrastructure plan that would garner private and local investment for an overall package of $1 trillion.