CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Rep. Nick J. Rahall, D-W.Va., introduced legislation on Tuesday to promote the use of American-made products that are being used for taxpayer-funded infrastructure projects.
The "Invest in American Jobs Act of 2013" will require the use of products stamped "Made in America" to build highways, bridges, public transit facilities, passenger rails and airports across the country.
Labor unions and manufacturing companies are backing the new legislation.
In the near future, the $6.3 billion East Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is scheduled to open. It is one of the largest publicly supported infrastructure projects in the country.
"But instead of steel cast in the Alleghenies or roadbed segments assembled in Alameda, cars and trucks using the bridge will be driving over 43,000 tons of steel imported from China, which supported 3,000 Chinese jobs and was financed by U.S. taxpayers," Rahall said.
Leo W. Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers, said, "At a time when millions of Americans are unable to find jobs, are only working part-time, or have altogether given up hope of finding a job, it is appalling, offensive and downright wrong to send our taxpayer dollars overseas when they should be invested in U.S. companies here at home rebuilding America.
"This legislation will put a stop to the practice, help turn our economy around, and start to rebuild a major sector of our economy," Gerard said in an article published on the union's website Tuesday.
Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, said, "Our 'Buy America' laws ensure that hard-earned tax dollars support good, quality jobs right here at home. But loopholes and exemptions have weakened these laws over time, allowing more of the public's money to be sent overseas to purchase steel and manufactured goods from countries like China."
The Alliance for American Manufacturing is a coalition between major manufacturing companies and organizations, including U.S. Steel and the United Steelworkers.
Money from railroad loans, Clean Water Act grants and FEMA grants is not going to domestic companies that "pay taxes and comply with federal standards for clean air, clean water, and plant safety while simultaneously competing with subsidized imports from China and India that do not bear similar costs," Paul said during a Tuesday morning news conference on Capitol Hill.
Reps. Peter A. DeFazio, D-Ore., Corrine Brown, D-Fla.; Timothy H. Bishop, D-N.Y.; Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-Washington, D.C.; and John Garamendi, D-Calif., joined Rahall in co-sponsoring the legislation.