What: All Issues : Labor Rights : Outsourcing of American Jobs Overseas : HR 1. (Economic stimulus) McCain amendment that would remove the economic stimulus bill’s “Buy American” requirements/On agreeing to the amendment (2009 senate Roll Call 44)
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HR 1. (Economic stimulus) McCain amendment that would remove the economic stimulus bill’s “Buy American” requirements/On agreeing to the amendment
senate Roll Call 44     Feb 04, 2009
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

This vote was on an amendment by John McCain, R-Ariz., that would strike the economic stimulus bill’s provisions requiring that American-made manufactured goods and materials be used in projects funded by the bill.   The amendment was offered to a $900 billion spending bill intended to bolster the flagging economy and create jobs.

McCain said these sorts of “Buy American” provisions are protectionist policies that could spark trade wars with other countries that could ultimately do much more harm to the U.S. economy.

“These antitrade measures may sound welcome to Americans who are hurting in the midst of our economic troubles and faced with the specter of layoffs. Yet shortsighted protectionist measures like ‘Buy American’ risk greatly exacerbating our current economic woes,” McCain said.  “Some of our largest trading partners, including Canada and the European Union, have warned that such a move could invite protectionist retaliation, further harming our ability to generate jobs and economic growth. And it seems clear that this provision violates our obligations under more than one international agreement.”

Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said 20,000 people are losing their jobs every day and that Congress needs to take every step it can to ensure that does not continue.

“We already have a ‘Buy American’ provision under current law. That is not violative of our trade agreements,” Dorgan said.  “But we do have a $700-billion-a-year trade deficit, and my hope would be that as we push this money out the door, we do it in support of American jobs.”

By a vote of 31-65, the amendment was rejected.  Of Republicans present, 30 voted for the amendment and 9 voted against it.  Every Democrat present voted against the amendment.  The end result is that the measure went forward with its “Buy American” provisions intact.

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