Op-ed: Buy American 2.0 Act to help create, keep quality jobs here

U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle introduced legislation in Congress that would require all federally-funded infrastructure projects to use American made materials.

By U.S. Rep. Brendan F. Boyle

Earlier this month, I introduced legislation in Congress to require that all federally-funded infrastructure projects use American made materials.

The Buy America 2.0 Act would bolster American manufacturing and create quality, family-sustaining jobs right here in our country. The bill is supported by labor unions like the United Steelworkers and the AFL-CIO. American infrastructure projects should support American workers. American tax dollars should be used to create good jobs here at home.

Over the last few decades, leadership in Washington turned their backs on American workers. Our country implemented far-reaching trade deals that have enabled foreign countries to undercut American workers and play by a different set of rules. We haven’t made necessary investments in infrastructure that would strengthen our economy and employ thousands. We fueled the rise of the wealthiest 1 percent while watching wages for the middle class stagnate to historic levels. Except for the Recovery Act, we have failed to put the weight of the American federal government behind working families.

These are principles that Democrats have long been fighting for in Congress and candidate Trump spoke of often on the campaign trail. I genuinely hoped that President Trump would hold true to his word and include these commonsense policies in his infrastructure proposal that came out last month. I was disappointed to see not one mention of Buy America in that proposal; nothing for workers, and a laughable, meager federal investment in these important projects. But I can’t say I was all that surprised. We’re fighting against the anti-worker agenda of the Trump administration and congressional Republicans on a daily basis, and the president, after all, has a record of scamming and stiffing workers at his properties.

My Buy America 2.0 Act is the kind of idea that should be bipartisan. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get behind it.

Actions speak louder than words. Legislation like 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. It’s past time we make policies like this a priority in Washington. ••

U.S. Rep. Brendan F. Boyle (D-13th dist.) represents Philadelphia and Montgomery County. He is co-chair of the Blue Collar Caucus and the Jobs for America Task Forces.