American Steel Industry Commends U.S. Senate for Passing Brown-Merkley Ammendment

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Amendment will ensure proper enforcement of the existing Buy America requirements in federal surface transportation programs

For Immediate Release
March 13, 2012

Washington, D.C. – In commenting on the Brown-Merkley amendment, American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) President and CEO Thomas J. Gibson stated:

“For thirty years, the Buy America statute has required that all iron, steel and other manufactured goods used in federally-funded highway and mass transit projects be produced in the United States.  This is a common-sense requirement to ensure that federal taxpayer dollars support manufacturing jobs in the United States.  Unfortunately, in recent years some recipients of federal funding have taken advantage of a loophole in the law to avoid using American-made steel by “segmenting” a project into several separate contracts so that federal funds could be used on some parts of the project, while foreign steel is used on other parts of the same project.  The Brown-Merkley amendment closes this loophole, thereby saving thousands of U.S. jobs that might otherwise be exported abroad.

The Brown-Merkley amendment also requires increased transparency in the existing Buy America waiver process in order to ensure that claims that American-made products are unavailable for use in federally-funded projects are fully and openly
evaluated.  This amendment ensures that U.S. companies with the ability to produce a product on which a waiver has been requested have the opportunity to comment on the proposed waiver and offer their products for use on the projects at issue.

The Brown-Merkley amendment is similar to the one introduced by Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) during the House Transportation and Infrastructure markup which was adopted without any opposition.  We now urge for swift passage of the surface transportation bill, which will create jobs while ensuring that domestically produced iron, steel and other manufactured goods are used in infrastructure projects that receive federal aid.” 

AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the preferred material of choice.  AISI also plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology.  AISI is comprised of 25 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and 124 associate and affiliate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry.  AISI's member companies represent over three quarters of both U.S. and North American steel capacity.  For more news about steel and its applications, view AISI’s Web site at www.steel.org.

Contact Nancy Gravatt
202.452.7115 / ngravatt@steel.org

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