NY lawmakers set to pass 'Buy American' measure for iron, steel
- New York state lawmakers this week are expected to pass new legislation that would require all state-funded construction projects to use American-made iron and steel, according to WAMC.
- The "Buy American" measure — which would apply to projects like bridges, subways and state buildings — has the backing of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who originally proposed that the law include a wider range of materials.
- The new measure also authorizes a task force and study to determine if the state should source additional construction materials like concrete, cement and aluminum in the U.S. as well.
The New York legislation is reminiscent of the executive order that President Donald Trump signed soon after his inauguration that aims to develop a plan to require that American-made steel be used on all pipeline projects.
The effectiveness of the administration's directive came under scrutiny in March, however, when it was revealed that the Keystone XL pipeline project and its developer TransCanada would be exempt because the steel package had already been purchased elsewhere. The administration then clarified that the order would apply only to new pipeline projects or those being upgraded or repaired.
In addition to requiring domestically sourced steel for pipeline projects, the president signed the "Buy American and Hire American" executive order in April. Under that order, federal agencies must evaluate current Buy American laws, take a look at how their waiver processes impact U.S. businesses and come up with new policies that increase the use of American made-products across all industries where possible.
While these types of rules appeal to the American public at large and boost political capital for lawmakers, some construction industry organizations have stated that legislation like this limits contractor purchasing options and interferes with the natural flow of the global economy.
Scott Berry, director of the Associated General Contractors of America's utility infrastructure division, told Construction Dive last year that laws like these could also result in other counties implementing the same types of restrictions, thereby cutting out American manufacturers in return.
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