WISCONSINREPORT.COM (09/16/2010) - The United States House of Representatives has passed what could be a game changer for the country in its struggle to re-employ those who have lost jobs to outsourcing mania. The House passed two bills as part of a Make It In America manufacturing agenda Democrats hope will catch on. The bills are the Congressional Made In America Act, and the Berry Amendment Extension Act. The number of jobs lost by Americans as a result of the trade deficit is staggering and is felt in every corner of America.
U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur’s (D-OH) bill, H.R. 2039, the Congressional Made in America Promise Act, passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, September 15, 2010, by a vote of 371-36. The bill will extend Buy American Act requirements for federal agencies to apply to the legislative branch and aims to ensure that all of the products purchased by the U.S. House of Representatives and the United States Senate are American-made.
The Berry Amendment Extension Act, introduced by Congressman Larry Kissell of North Carolina, directs the Department of Homeland Security to buy clothing, tents, and other products made in America.
"Today, the House took two more critical steps forward in advancing our 'Make It In America' strategy - continuing our drive to create American jobs, and expand America's manufacturing sector", said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
"In passing these bills, we reaffirm that when we make it in America, we create jobs, promote our competitiveness, and lead the world economy," Pelosi pointed out.
Congressional Representative Marcy Kaptur says the nation has been losing millions and millions of good jobs to foreign outsourcing while America has become more and more dependent on imported goods.
“It seems almost everything one buys has a sticker or a label designating it was made just about anywhere but in America – China, India, Malaysia -- or some other country. Outsourced production translates into lost jobs,” Kaptur said.
Under current law, the federal government’s Executive Branch is under a mandate to purchase American made products. However, the Legislative Branch has been exempt from that rule.
Kaptur’s bill tightens the rules already in place for Executive Branch agencies and includes only three exceptions for any product bearing an official insignia (including a mark resembling an official seal) of the U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, and the U.S. Congress: goods that are of unreasonable cost, goods used outside of the United States, and goods that cost under $2,500.
“The number of jobs lost to Americans as a result of the trade deficit is staggering. It is felt in every corner of America and certainly in my home state of Ohio. This year alone, the trade deficit has cut GDP growth by three points, to just over 1.5 percent. So, when an avalanche of imports dwarfs our exports, the bottom line is lost jobs, lost income, a diminishing middle class, and sluggish economic growth,” said Kaptur.
The aim of the legislation is to set a clear standard and bring about a change in practices. Many, including the House bill's sponser, believe business as usual and bad trade deals have brought this country to near economic calamity.
"We must restore manufacturing in America and start right here by raising the consciousness of the Legislative Branch of our federal government. Today, we send a clear message: it is time we make goods in America again and get our people back to work," Kaptur said.
“This nation grew its way out of the Great Depression and we can build and grow our way out of this Great Recession by buying goods made in our nation. Congress will once and for all get serious about leading America forward and use its buying power to support jobs and manufacturing in America,” Kaptur said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Democrats will continue to move the nation forward to prosperity for the middle class.
"Democrats are committed to 'Making it in America,' while Republicans are standing with corporations that ship American jobs overseas," Speaker Pelosi stated.
"We will not go back to the 'exact same' failed Bush agenda that cost us 4.6 million good-paying American manufacturing jobs, and weakened our manufacturers, our labor force, and our economy", House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised.
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