Senators Stabenow, Braun, Peters, Baldwin, Portman Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen American Manufacturing and Create Jobs Across the Country

The Make It in America Act will Ensure the Federal Government Spends Taxpayer Dollars on American-Made Goods

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mike Braun (R-IN), Gary Peters (D-MI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Robert Portman (R-OH) today introduced 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.


In 2018, Senator Stabenow issued 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. 


“America’s workers and manufacturers are the best in the world. This bill would make sure they are first in line when it comes to government contracts and spending. It’s common sense that American tax dollars should be used to create American jobs by purchasing American products, not products made overseas,” said Senator Stabenow.  


“Ensuring that taxpayer dollars are used to support American jobs is the kind of commonsense, main-street policy Hoosiers sent me here to support. Unfortunately, America’s Buy America laws have too many loopholes, sending our resources to foreign workers. This bill closes those loopholes and helps ensure that America’s workers, small businesses, and families are the direct beneficiaries of federal purchasing,” said Senator Braun.


“Ensuring that the federal government is spending taxpayer dollars on products made by American workers will create jobs and level the playing field for our small businesses and manufacturers,” said Senator Peters. “I’m proud to join Senator Stabenow in announcing this commonsense legislation that would strengthen Buy American rules, invest in Michigan and American workers and help rebuild a stronger economy.”


“I strongly believe that when taxpayer dollars are spent by our government, we should be investing in American workers and American-made products,” said Senator Baldwin. “The Make it America Act has earned bipartisan support because it supports our manufacturers and workers by making sure we buy what American makes.”


“We must do everything we can to protect and maximize American jobs, and that starts by ensuring that our tax dollars aren’t used to create jobs overseas,” said Senator Portman. “By improving transparency, the Make It in America Act will encourage federal agencies to support American workers and American jobs by faithfully complying with Buy American law. This is a bipartisan bill that is needed now to help protect American jobs.”


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 would also increase American-made content from 50 to 75 percent to ensure that manufactured products bought by the federal government are made with American-made components. 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.