'Buy American' - WWEMA's Response

WWEMA has been opposed to "Buy American" language since it was first included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. These onerous restrictions increase costs, hinder U.S. companies' ability to do business given the global nature of their supply chains, and lead to retaliatory legislation among our international trading partners.

WWEMA has led the charge to fight these provisions:

August 25, 2015. WWEMA sent two letters of support for requests made by several states asking the EPA to waive American iron and steel requirements within their states for small systems (serving under 10,000). In its letters, WWEMA stated: "WWEMA supports the waiver requests from these ... states. However, we also want to be clear that these issues impact not only small systems in these ... states, but ALL-sized systems in ALL 50 U.S. states and territories. This is clearly a provision that has significant unintended consequences that is restricting the use of much needed funds, driving up the costs of projects, and limiting the ability of U.S. drinking water and wastewater systems to access the most current and up-to-date innovative technologies to solve real public health and environmental issues."

June 9, 2015. WWEMA sent a letter to the ranking members of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee in support of language broadening the American iron and steel restrictions to include "substantial transformation."

January 21, 2015. WWEMA contributed an article to Water Online regarding the proposed "Buy American" Amendment to the Keystone XL Pipeline legislation and lessons learned about such restrictive language from the municipal water and wastewater perspective.

January 20, 2015. WWEMA contributed a blog post to Water & Wastes Digest regarding the proposed "Buy American" Amendment to the Keystone XL Pipeline legislation and some hopeful signs that Congress may be beginning to understand the unintended consequences of such restrictive language.

January 15, 2015. WWEMA sent a letter to all 100 U.S. Senators urging them to reject Amendment 17 to the Keystone XL Pipeline Act (S.1) to require the use of U.S.-made iron, steel, and manufactured goods for construction of the pipeline. The amendment was subsequently defeated.

January 9, 2015. WWEMA signed on to a letter urging the U.S. Senate to reject any proposed amendments to impose local content restrictions within the bill authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline.

December 29, 2014. WWEMA submitted comments in response to the EPA's draft National Product Waiver for Pig Iron and Direct Reduced Iron, taking issue with the Agency's seemingly expanding definition of "American iron and steel."

July 28-29, 2014. WWEMA members conducted visits on Capitol Hill, sharing this fact sheet with legislators and other key stakeholders with regard to the "unintended consequences" of local procurement restriction.

July 8, 2014. WWEMA sent letters to all members of the full House and Senate Appropriations Committees urging them not to include "American Iron and Steel" language in the 2015 Appropriations Bill.

May 16, 2014. WWEMA sent a letter to ranking members of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee opposing "American Iron and Steel" language in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act.

March, 2014. WWEMA contributed a guest column to Water Online regarding "Why 'Buy American' May Be Bad for America."

February 14, 2014. Following passage of the 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act, WWEMA was invited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to provide input on implementation of the "American Iron and Steel" language in the Act. WWEMA provided a position statement calling for an extremely limited interpretation of the language.

November 22, 2013. WWEMA sent a letter to ranking members of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee urging them to oppose the "American Iron and Steel" language in the proposed Water Resources Reform and Development Act.

June 5, 2013. WWEMA, along with 14 groups ranging from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the National Taxpayers Union to the National Association of Water Companies, sent a letter to all members of the U.S. Congress urging them to oppose "Buy American" legislation.

May 10, 2013. WWEMA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce teamed up to send a letter to each member of the U.S. Senate opposing a potential "Buy American" provision to the Water Resources Development Act of 2013.

June 19, 2012. WWEMA and 14 other groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Associated General Contractors of America, and the Council of Infrastructure Financing Agencies, sent a letter to ranking members of the House Committee on Appropriations' Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies to reject "Buy American" restrictions in the 2013 Appropriations Bill.

December 16, 2009. WWEMA, along with 27 other groups, sent a letter to leaders of the House and Senate objecting to "Buy American" provisions in ARRA.

November 17, 2009. WWEMA sent a letter to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative urging them to resolve "Buy American" related disputes with Canada in a mutually beneficial manner so as to ensure open, secure, and predictable access to markets on both sides of the border.

October 8, 2009. WWEMA testified before the Republican leadership of the House Ways & Means Committee on the impact "Buy American" provision in ARRA was having on water and wastewater projects.

May 1, 2009. WWEMA sent a letter to each member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works urging them to reject "Buy American" provisions in legislation to reauthorize the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.

February 6, 2009. WWEMA sent a letter to Congressional leaders calling on them to reject the "Buy American" provisions in the pending stimulus package (ARRA).

WWEMA represents the "Voice of the Manufacturer" on this issue, engaging key legislators, the EPA, the Canadian Embassy, and many other stakeholders on a monthly, weekly, and even daily basis.

Together we must educate Capitol Hill and the general public about the fallacies behind the seemingly patriotic "Buy American" slogan. The more members we have, the more effective we can be.

For information on how to support this effort, check out our "Join WWEMA" page and our "Fair and Open Competition Strategy" page.