If you do a casual reading of the 2,700-page infrastructure bill passed by the United States Senate with the help of 19 Republicans, you would think that the legislation supports buying American products. Those who dig deeper will discover that is not the case. The bill gives federal department heads the power not to buy American products.
What the Infracture Bill Requires
All these individuals must do is state that they cannot find the product from an American supplier or that the products on the market are inferior. They can also buy from a supplier located in a different country if the price will be substantially cheaper.
The Harsh Reality for American Businesses
Chairman and CEO of AVG Advanced Technologies Shalabh Kumar says that department heads can buy from suppliers outside the U.S. if the price is lower. He says that will stop most American companies from being able to bid for these lucrative contracts. He says that his company, which operates plants in Iowa, Illinois and other states, cannot compete because of the wages he must pay his employees. Furthermore, there are costs involved with meeting U.S. government regulations.
Before the United States Senate passed the bill, Kumar worked with Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas to get an amendment added strengthening requirements to buy from American companies.
While the amendment was not added, Kumar encourages others to encourage their representatives to pass the amendment when the bill comes before the United States House of Representatives in the fall. He is particularly anxious to work with other industry and union leaders.
One only has to look at recent history to understand the importance of buying from American companies. Yet the new infrastructure bill encourages department heads to buy from global companies.