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 TrumpNew Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Ocasio-Cortez: Trump contributed less in taxes 'than waitresses and undocumented immigrants' Third judge orders Postal Service to halt delivery cuts 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 Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Trump, Biden have one debate goal: Don't lose The role (un)happiness plays in how people vote 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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 introduce bipartisan bill to mandate digital apps disclose country of origin Keep teachers in the classroom Cher raised million for Biden campaign at LGBTQ-themed fundraiser MORE (D-Wis.) and Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzDemocrats blast Trump after report reveals he avoided income taxes for 10 years: 'Disgusting' Democrats turn focus to health care for Supreme Court fight Democratic senator to party: 'A little message discipline wouldn't kill us' 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 MurphyGOP online donor platform offering supporters 'Notorious A.C.B.' shirts Democratic senator calls for 'more flexible' medical supply chain to counter pandemics The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Don't expect a government check anytime soon MORE (D-Conn.), Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseySecond GOP senator to quarantine after exposure to coronavirus GAO report finds brokers offered false info on coverage for pre-existing conditions Catholic group launches .7M campaign against Biden targeting swing-state voters MORE Jr. (D-Pa.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenNew Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Democrats blast Trump after report reveals he avoided income taxes for 10 years: 'Disgusting' Overnight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds MORE (D-Mass.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownMnuchin says he and Pelosi have agreed to restart coronavirus stimulus talks Harris faces pivotal moment with Supreme Court battle Remote work poses state tax challenges MORE (D-Ohio), Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowSunday Shows: Trump's court pick dominates Booker says he will ask Amy Coney Barrett if she will recuse herself from presidential election-related cases Schumer says Trump tweet shows court pick meant to kill off ObamaCare MORE (D-Mich.), Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenSenate Democrats introduce bill to sanction Russians over Taliban bounties Trump-backed candidate wins NH GOP Senate primary to take on Shaheen Democratic senator urges Trump to respond to Russian aggression MORE (D-N.H.) and Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Trump, Biden renew push for Latino support Sunday shows - Trump team defends coronavirus response Oregon senator says Trump's blame on 'forest management' for wildfires is 'just a big and devastating lie' 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.