Buy America 2.0 Act Seeks to Close Key Infrastructure Funding Loopholes

Cathalijne Adams

Cathalijne Adams Digital Media Manager, AAM

Infrastructure Week 2019 concluded last week without any big infrastructure announcements — no surprise there. However, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) are scheduled to meet with President Trump on Wednesday to deal with financing for a proposed $2 trillion investment in infrastructure.

Without a doubt, our nation’s deteriorating bridges, roads, water systems and transit are desperately in need of this investment. Indeed, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave America’s infrastructure a D+ on its 2017 report card. And Americans agree that it’s well past time that our government concentrate on solutions — recent polling data finds that 81% of likely voters consider infrastructure investment to be a top policy priority.

But critical to the success of any infrastructure investment is the return of taxpayer dollars to America’s workers and communities rather than being sent overseas. Though current Buy America legislation mandates federally funded infrastructure projects utilize goods and materials from domestic sources, loopholes remain.

In an effort to strengthen Buy America and close these loopholes, Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) introduced the Buy America 2.0 Act in the midst of this year’s Infrastructure Week.

“In America, our infrastructure is crumbling, and so is our middle class,” Boyle said. “When Congress moves to rebuild our infrastructure from our roads to our electric grid, we must do so in a way that boosts American workers and manufacturers, creating broad-based economic growth. That means using the high-quality U.S. steel, iron, and other materials made by hardworking Americans. The Buy America 2.0 Act is the only way to make sure that our federal investment in rebuilding our infrastructure is an investment in rebuilding the American Dream, too.”

Buy America 2.0 would extend Buy America domestic sourcing requirements to aviation and public transportation, foreign infiltration of which has recently presented alarming security risks. The bill already has attracted nearly two dozen cosponsors.

Despite President Trump’s “Buy American and Hire American” campaign promises, his executive orders so far have failed to offer any true mandates, encouraging the use of American-made materials rather than requiring it.  

Time will tell if Trump can finally put action to his rhetoric when it comes to infrastructure, but he’d be wise to attend to the concerns of the vast majorities of likely voters of both parties who support Buy America preferences for federally funded infrastructure projects — 80% of likely voters support Buy America, according to recent polling. Buy America 2.0 and similar bills are clearly aligned with voters’ wishes.

Reposted from AAM
Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work