Thursday, September 30, 2010

House Approves Two ‘Make it in America’ Provisions

(Sidley Austin LLP)

On September 15, the House of Representatives approved two bills aimed at bolstering U.S. manufacturing by requiring parts of the U.S. government to buy only U.S.-made products. Both bills would need to be approved by the Senate and signed by President Obama before they become law, but nonetheless signal a possible spate of “Buy American” legislation in the coming weeks.

The bills are:

1. The “Berry Amendment Extension Act,” which would require two agencies within the Department of Homeland Security to buy U.S.-made textiles, clothing, cotton and other related goods; and

2. The “Congressional Made in America Promise Act,” which requires goods and supplies used by Congress to be sourced in America, with limited exceptions.

The bills are part of the broader “Make it in America” legislative initiative launched by the Democratic leadership in Congress, which has been under increasing pressure to stimulate U.S. job creation and manufacturing. The initiative is still under development but could also include the consideration of a China currency bill and other pro-U.S. manufacturing legislation (the Foreign Manufacturers Legal Accountability Act, H.R. 4678/S.1606, has been mentioned as a possibility) in the few weeks – perhaps only days – left before Congress adjourns for the mid-term elections. Read more here.