Senators Stabenow and Peters Announce Committee Passage of Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen American Manufacturing and Create Jobs in Michigan

Thursday, May 13, 2021

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters announced the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s passage of their bipartisan bill to strengthen our Buy American laws. The Make It in America Act will make it harder for federal agencies to use waivers to get around Buy American requirements, requiring the federal government to give preference to American companies and spend taxpayer dollars on American-made products and American jobs. The legislation can now be considered by the full Senate.


In 2018, Senator Stabenow released her Buy American report that found exceptions and waivers to the Buy American Act allowed federal agencies to spend $92 billion on foreign-made products between 2008 and 2016. Senator Stabenow’s Make It in America Act addresses the abuses identified in this report. The bill is part of her American Jobs Agenda, which will ensure we are making products in America, closing loopholes that send jobs overseas, and holding countries like China accountable for unfair trade practices.


“Over the years I’ve led the effort to make sure that Michigan’s workers and manufacturers are first in line when it comes to government contracts and spending. There’s no question that American tax dollars should be used to create American jobs by purchasing American products, not products made overseas,” said Senator Stabenow. “I’m glad that my bipartisan, common sense legislation is moving forward and now can be considered by the full Senate.”  


Peters has led numerous efforts to support American manufacturers and workers. This past December, Peters’ bipartisan bill to grant Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEP) federal funding to help small- and medium-sized manufacturers across the country expand growth, maintain staff and adapt to market changes was signed into law. Peters also previously introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure that American taxpayer dollars are used to buy American-made iron, steel and manufactured products for federally funded infrastructure projects. Additionally, Peters previously introduced legislation that would address outsourcing and reform the tax code to reward businesses that bring jobs back from foreign countries.


“Making sure taxpayer dollars are being used to buy products made by Michiganders and Americans will not only create good paying jobs, but bolster our competitiveness with countries like China,” said Senator Peters, Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “I’m pleased this commonsense legislation has advanced in the Senate. I will fight to ensure it becomes law so we can continue to invest in Michigan and American workers and help build a stronger economy.”


Each year, federal agencies spend billions in taxpayer dollars to buy products from the private sector. The 1933 Buy American Act requires federal agencies to give preferential treatment to manufacturers of high quality, American-made goods and products. Unfortunately, loopholes, waivers, and outright violations have allowed federal agencies to buy products overseas — leaving our American manufacturers behind. 


The Make It in America Act would close loopholes in our Buy American laws and make waivers public. For example, the bill would stop the use of the “public interest” waiver if a foreign contract would decrease American employment. The bill also calls for federal agencies to purchase products with more American-made content. The bill would also require that each waiver to the Buy American Act be publicly posted online with detailed justifications. 


The bill would create a new “Made in America Office” within the Office of Management and Budget, charged with reviewing waivers to the Buy American Act and ensuring compliance with other Buy American laws. This office mirrors President Biden’s executive order to create a central office dedicated to enforcing Buy American laws.


Finally, the Make It in America Act would give small- and medium-sized American manufacturers the first opportunity to provide products for federally-funded transportation projects.