“Buying Americans” is now a law: is it good?

Torrington’s Door Handle For Jamie Greg, president, chief executive officer and owner of Colonial Bronze, a manufacturer of pulls, knobs and other products, the road to federal law to expand US purchasing rules was ten years ago. It started with a rare phone call.

A staff member of US Congressman Chris Murphy at the time asked, “Are you making towel bars?” He remembered in a recent interview.

“It’s a strange question coming from the parliamentary office,” he said.

Greg, the third-generation owner of the 94-year-old family business, said Colonial Bronze, Murphy’s office, makes towel bars.

According to Greg, Murphy, who was subsequently elected to the US Senate and re-elected, questioned why the Pentagon sought an exemption to avoid buying American-made towel bars for Alaska’s air force barracks. His office looked for a Connecticut company that filled the bill.

In November, President Joe Biden signed a large infrastructure bill, including a law that strengthens the provisions of the Buy American Act. It was endorsed by Democrat Murphy and backed by others on behalf of a manufacturing state. Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina; and Debbie Starbucks, D-Michigan.

The law establishes an online hub to increase transparency and ensure that federal agencies prioritize the purchase of American-made goods in compliance with the laws already on the books. The law also gives manufacturers the opportunity to challenge the pending exemptions sought by federal agencies.

Also, in 2017, then President Donald Trump codified a presidential directive requiring institutions to report on compliance with and how to implement Buy American Act.

According to Murphy, the manufacturing site is part of the US industry, so it makes sense to use the $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure law to incorporate the Buy American Act. “We took the opportunity,” he said.

In a video produced by his office, Murphy said, “I’m crazy about using US taxpayer money to lose government jobs to foreign competitors for domestic manufacturers. Seems to be. “

Connecticut’s manufacturing industry is highly regarded for its skilled and well-paid jobs, employs more than 155,000 workers, accounts for nearly 10% of the workforce, and nearly the state’s nearly $ 300 billion economy. It occupies the same share. Murphy promoted the production of a visible part of his legislative career and went as far as to pursue what he said was in common with Trump, but to say the least, he “loved too much.” No”.

He said his visit to Colonial Bronze gave him the idea of ​​Buy American Act. In a video of Senator Greg, he supported the new law and said it was “designed to level the competition” between the US and foreign companies.

Critics of the Buy American Act say the federal government should work with as many producers as possible to keep costs down. “I sigh of relief,” said Daniel Drezner, a professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School, if the bill is just an information center.

“Buying Americans makes things more expensive,” he said. “You are telling the government that you can’t buy from the lowest bidders. You need to support and discriminate against US producers.”

Allison Schlager, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, said Bai-American policies are subsidizing uncompetitive business practices.

“It’s better to compete in the global market and make adjustments when possible,” she said.

Drezner acknowledged that the politics of closed factories that cannot compete globally is “sometimes brutal” and needs to be purchased domestically to protect national security. Still, Buy American Act is “an ineffective use of taxpayers’ dollars,” he said.

And if politicians elaborate on the true costs of protecting domestic manufacturing, Bai American may lose public support, he said. Drezner said Americans could react “differently” when they allowed taxes to be raised to help buy high-priced goods to maintain employment.

Murphy said the law empowers the private sector.

“All we do is provide information in an easy-to-find way and leave this website to the manufacturer,” he said.

However, by Americans can be more widespread. Murphy said one of the ideas he’s considering is to raise the minimum percentage of US content from 50% to 60% and “remove some of the most frequently abused exemptions.” rice field.

The supply shortage in the early months of the pandemic “leaded to awakening in parliament,” he said.

Drezner blamed the lack of US policy to shrink stockpiles of personal protective equipment and said the government had to increase supplies.

Meanwhile, Greg said the Bi-American website would be useful. Customer service representatives scan it to determine if a federal agency is seeking an exemption and seize the opportunity to market the product they purchase.

“This at least clarifies why you should buy this and gives us the opportunity to fight for our position,” he said.

With 43 workers, Colonial Bronze has worked hard by producing customized specialty products for sale to designers and interior architects. According to Greg, the low-cost business structure of a large supermarket that deals with China has taken hold, and it has been in business for a long time after its competitors dropped out.

“I couldn’t take myself to do that, so I pushed it out,” he said.

Regarding the towel bar in Alaska’s Air Force Barracks, Greg said he had no chance to sell it to the Pentagon.

“The ship has already set sail,” he said.

US Senator Christopher Murphy, D-Connecticut, asks Zalmay Khalilzad, a special envoy for the Afghan reconciliation, at the Capitol Hill Foreign Affairs Committee meeting in Washington, DC on April 27, 2021 (Susan Walsh). / Pool / Getty Images / TNS)

Critics say the US needs to buy from several sources to keep costs down

“Buying Americans” is now a law: is it good?

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