Washington, DC – December 7, 2016 – This afternoon, U.S. Representatives Mike Doyle (D-PA-14) and Walter B Jones (R-NC-3) called on the House Rules Committee to allow their “Buy America” amendment to be considered by the full House when it takes up S. 612, the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIINA). Moments ago, House Rules Committee Republicans voted unanimously against allowing consideration of the Doyle-Jones amendment.
“Our country depends on good manufacturing jobs to support their families, and this amendment would give those families peace of mind,” Congressman Doyle said in his testimony before the Rules Committee. “Our tax dollars should support American manufacturers and help preserve these communities across the nation that are struggling.”
“This amendment is very simple,” Doyle added. “All this is going to do is to codify the Buy America provisions for the EPA’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, making them permanent. This isn’t something new. This merely just brings them into line with other federal infrastructure programs. Other clean water programs like the EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program have permanent Buy America provisions. Other major taxpayer-financed programs like the Department of Transportation’s funding for transit, highways and rail have permanent Buy America provisions.”
“I believe that taxpayer dollars should solely support American-made infrastructure. Unfortunately, current provisions in the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund are weak and Buy America text is only written for FY 2017,” Congressman Jones said. “My colleagues and I introduced legislation to ensure Congress never puts a limit on supporting this country’s economy. I hope to see this amendment permanently included in WIINA.”
The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, which would authorize the construction of locks and dams, flood control projects, and other water-related infrastructure across the country, is being considered by the House this week.
Buy America requirements for iron and steel used in many of those projects were enacted into law years ago. The Senate adopted language making the Buy America requirements for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) permanent earlier this year with broad bipartisan support, but that language was replaced in recent days with a provision that would only extend the DWSRF Buy America provisions for a year.
The Doyle-Jones amendment would make the DWSRF Buy America requirement permanent.
The House Rules Committee sets the terms under which a bill is considered on the House Floor, including which, if any amendments can be considered.
After the Committee vote, USW president Leo Gerard said, "The Doyle-Jones amendment would have restored permanent Buy America provisions to drinking water infrastructure funding, and with more than 15,000 workers in the steel industry on layoff, this amendment would have allowed members of the House of Representatives to show they stand with American workers."
“I will continue to work to protect American manufacturing jobs – including by making this Buy America provision permanent,” Doyle pledged after the Rules Committee vote.