When Donald Trump originally ran for president in 2016, he bucked decades of Republican Party orthodoxy by running on an openly protectionist platform. Trump’s view was that every nation’s first responsibility must be to its own citizens, its own industries and its own workers. In short: “America First.”
As COVID began to ravage the world, the wisdom of Trump’s policies in this area became manifest. As economies the world over shut down and trade networks were cut in response to the virus, Americans learned firsthand how perilous it can be to depend on other nations for the manufacture of critical goods.
Trump’s trade advisor Peter Navarro put together a plan during the Trump Administration to use the Defense Production Act to induce American corporations to begin producing important goods on American shores to help us fight off the virus — goods like masks, hand sanitizer, ventilators and pharmaceuticals.
And yet, Congress has provided some loopholes to the current “Buy American” provisions in the new infrastructure bill.
The American Worker Gets Shafted… Again
Breitbart News recently published the 2,700-page “infrastructure bill.” At first glance, the bill does appear to include some “Buy American” provisions. In particular, it states funds may not be allocated for infrastructure projects unless “all of the iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in the project are produced ion the United States.”
But this language is deceptive. The bill also says that heads of federal agencies may circumvent these requirements if they consider them to be “inconsistent with the public interest.”
The bill also says that the “Buy American” requirement can be ignored if following it does not meet “satisfactory quality” standards or if federal agency heads believe that following the requirements will unduly increase the cost of infrastructure projects.