Letter Supporting Strong Buy American Provisions in Defense Authorization Act

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the AFL-CIO, I urge you to support the “National Defense Authorization Act of 2021” (H.R. 6395) and to oppose any amendments that would weaken the strong Buy American provisions, authored by Representative Norcross that were included in Section 825. We also urge you to support the amendments listed below.

As currently drafted, H.R. 6395 would increase Buy American domestic content requirements to 75 percent for major defense acquisition programs, with an additional five percent annual increase thereafter in order to reach a 100 percent domestic content requirement by 2026. Buy American provisions ensure that our tax dollars are used to put Americans to work strengthening our industrial base. They ensure that our men and women in uniform are provided with the best equipment and provide a boost to the small and mid-sized firms across the country that make-up the supply chain for our critical defense programs.

The Vargas Amendment (#452) provides for utilization of the Defense Production Act to meet the country’s most critical needs in combating CVID-19. Its requirements include enhanced congressional and public oversight of pricing levels for critical materials, determination of a target level for each state in terms of testing, the identification of a federal point person to improve coordination between the private sector and the federal government, and a strategic plan for the domestic production of personal protective equipment and other needed pandemic-related supplies.

The Lamb Amendment (#524) would allow former Coast Guard members, transitioning to civilian life, to participate in DOD's SkillBridge program. This program provides workforce training and career pathways and has a track-record of effectiveness for military veterans.

The DeFazio/Graves/Maloney/Gibbs Amendment (#561) would add “the Elijah E. Cummings Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2020” to the bill. This bipartisan amendment includes a number of key maritime-related provisions, including provisions related to merchant mariner credentialing due to the COVID-19 crisis; the auditing of shipper-agency compliance with cargo preference laws requiring that certain percentages of government cargo be transported by American ships; and a Sense of the Congress on the importance of the maritime industry to our nation's economic security and prosperity.

The Maloney/King/Cleaver/Malinowski/Waters/Waltz Amendment (#499) would make it easier to uncover corporate money laundering and tax evasion by requiring companies to disclose their true beneficial owners when the company is formed. 

It would also modernize and streamline the BSA-AML regulatory regime by strengthening the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s (FinCEN) legal authority and improving its communications with financial institutions.

The DelBene Amendment (#297) would add an aluminum domestic content preference for funds administered by the Department of Defense, Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, and Amtrak.

The DelBene Amendment (#299) would require the Secretary of Defense to report on how the Defense Production Act could be invoked to increase activities related to the domestic development, refining, processing and manufacturing of aluminum. 

Thank you for your consideration of our views.

William Samuel
Director, Government Affairs