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 TrumpBill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' ACLU says planned national emergency declaration is 'clear abuse of presidential power' O'Rourke says he'd 'absolutely' take down border wall near El Paso if he could 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 SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersHillicon Valley: New York says goodbye to Amazon's HQ2 | AOC reacts: 'Anything is possible' | FTC pushes for record Facebook fine | Cyber threats to utilities on the rise O’Rourke heading to Wisconsin amid 2020 speculation Amazon to pay Bernie Sanders in federal income taxes: report 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 BaldwinDems offer smaller step toward ‘Medicare for all' Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Powerful House committee turns to drug pricing | Utah governor defies voters on Medicaid expansion | Dems want answers on controversial new opioid Why does the bankruptcy code discriminate against disabled veterans? MORE (D-Wis.) and Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzOvernight Health Care: Push for cosponsors for new 'Medicare for all' bill | Court lets Dems defend ObamaCare | Flu season not as severe as last year, CDC says Dems unveil bill to let VA doctors prescribe medical marijuana David Hogg: GOP's plan to deal with climate change is 'thoughts and prayers' 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 MurphyHouse passes bill to end US support for Saudi war in Yemen This week: Border deal remains elusive as shutdown looms Border talks stall as another shutdown looms MORE (D-Conn.), Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyGOP wants to pit Ocasio-Cortez against Democrats in the Senate Biden speaking to Dems on Capitol Hill as 2020 speculation mounts: report GOP senators: Trump should not declare border emergency during State of the Union MORE Jr. (D-Pa.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren's 'ultra wealth' tax is misleading Hillicon Valley: New York says goodbye to Amazon's HQ2 | AOC reacts: 'Anything is possible' | FTC pushes for record Facebook fine | Cyber threats to utilities on the rise O’Rourke heading to Wisconsin amid 2020 speculation MORE (D-Mass.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownShep Smith: Signing funding bill is a 'loss' for Trump no matter how it's packaged Exclusive: Biden almost certain to enter 2020 race Tim Ryan ‘seriously considering’ 2020 bid MORE (D-Ohio), Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - Will there be any last-minute shutdown drama? Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Utah tests Trump on Medicaid expansion | Dems roll out Medicare buy-in proposal | Medicare for all could get hearing next month | Doctors group faces political risks on guns Dems offer smaller step toward ‘Medicare for all' MORE (D-Mich.), Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenDems slam EPA plan for fighting drinking water contaminants Bipartisan Senators reintroduce legislation to slap new sanctions on Russia Dems seeking path to Senate majority zero-in on Sun Belt MORE (D-N.H.) and Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyThe border deal: What made it in, what got left out Lawmakers introduce bill to fund government, prevent shutdown Dems wary of killing off filibuster 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.