The federal economic recovery law signed by President Obama sends billions of dollars to state and local goverments for infrastructure and other projects. The law requires that American-made goods be used in such projects and the USW is advocating that our tax dollars be used to create jobs at home and help renew the American economy. One way we're doing this is through our "Buy American" resolution, part of the Make Our Future Work economic renewal campaign. (Click here for our resolution tool kit.)
Creating jobs at home and rebuilding the American economy should be a no brainer. As USW International President Leo W. Gerard says, it's time for economic patriots.
But the Business Roundtable, a business lobby group, and some others consider "Buy American" provisions harmful to their interests, and they are fighting against them. One way they are trying to get around these rules, which are part of the Economic Recovery law President Obama signed, is by seeking exceptions, or waivers, that would let businesses off the hook. The waivers would let them use our tax dollars via the recovery package to create jobs overseas or boost foreign economies like China’s.
Because the law does not require that governments make these waivers public, it's up to us to be watchdogs and make sure our tax dollars are not used to support these attempts. You can follow how the money is being spent here, and track some of the "shovel-ready" projects here. Also stay in touch with your USW Make Our Future Work district coordinator who gets daily updates about projects and spending. Don't forget to push our resolution, which requests that lawmakers at every level make requests for such waivers public.
Click here for more info about "Buy American" provisions and the waivers that could let businesses get away with choosing not to create jobs at home. And click here for a set of talking points that will help you talk to media, politicians, friends, family, co-workers and neighbors about this important issue. We've put together a set of talking points to help you get the facts about these waivers and give you tips for how to talk about it and most importantly, how to monitor attempts to circumvent "Buy American" rules. Click here to download the Buy American Waivers Talking Points.
Section 1605 of the American Recovery and Economic Investment Act requires that federal agencies publish detailed explanations if they choose to waive the Buy American provision. The Federal Register is the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents. You can monitor the register online here.
Remember, it's up to us to make sure billions of our tax dollars are spent to put us back to work and repair our economy.