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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 TrumpWarren says Republican party 'eating itself and it is discovering that the meal is poisonous' More than 75 Asian, LGBTQ groups oppose anti-Asian crime bill McConnell says he's 'great admirer' of Liz Cheney but mum on her removal 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 SandersOvernight Health Care: CDC approves Pfizer vaccine for adolescents aged 12-15 | House moderates signal concerns with Pelosi drug pricing bill | Panel blasts COVID-19 response Briahna Joy Gray: Warren not endorsing Sanders in 2020 was 'really frustrating' House moderates signal concerns with Pelosi drug pricing bill 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 BaldwinSenate Democrats offer bill to scrap tax break for investment managers Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap House Dems to unveil drug pricing measure ahead of Biden package MORE (D-Wis.) and Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzDemocrats face big headaches on Biden's T spending plan Democrats introduce bill to give hotels targeted relief Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap 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 MurphyKabul attack spurs fears over fate of Afghan women as US exits Sen. Murphy calls for Yemen's Houthis to accept ceasefire following trip to Middle East US, Iran signal possible breakthroughs in nuke talks MORE (D-Conn.), Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyA historic moment to truly honor mothers Democrats face big headaches on Biden's T spending plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP makes infrastructure play; Senate passes Asian hate crimes bill MORE Jr. (D-Pa.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren says Republican party 'eating itself and it is discovering that the meal is poisonous' Briahna Joy Gray: Warren not endorsing Sanders in 2020 was 'really frustrating' McConnell hits Democratic critics of Israel MORE (D-Mass.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSenate Democrats offer bill to scrap tax break for investment managers Wyden: Funding infrastructure with gas tax hike a 'big mistake' Sherrod Brown calls Rand Paul 'kind of a lunatic' for not wearing mask MORE (D-Ohio), Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - House GOP drama intensifies; BIden sets new vax goal Overnight Health Care: Biden sets goal of at least one shot to 70 percent of adults by July 4 | White House to shift how it distributes unallocated vaccines to states The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Can Cheney defy the odds and survive again? MORE (D-Mich.), Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenCongress may force Biden to stop Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline Kabul attack spurs fears over fate of Afghan women as US exits Bowser on Manchin's DC statehood stance: He's 'not right' MORE (D-N.H.) and Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleySenate panel deadlocks in vote on sweeping elections bill Senate descends into hours-long fight over elections bill Senate poised for all-day brawl over sweeping elections bill 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.