Senators Want ‘Buy American’ Rule in Stimulus

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Senators Want ‘Buy American’ Rule in Stimulus

The New York Times – Four Democratic senators are calling on the Obama administration to halt spending on a renewable energy program in the economic stimulus package until rules are in place to assure that the projects use predominantly American labor and materials.

The senators said that more than three-fourths of $2 billion spent on wind-energy projects supported by the stimulus package had gone to foreign companies. They said that effectively undercut the purpose of the stimulus program — formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — which is to jump-start the American economy and create jobs here.

“A critical Recovery Act priority is investment in the domestic renewable and clean energy industry, not investment in foreign manufacturers,” the senators wrote to Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner on Tuesday. They asked Mr. Geithner to apply a buy-American provision to future energy projects funded under the act.

The letter was signed by Senators Charles E. Schumer of New York, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Jon Tester of Montana.

The senators introduced legislation on Wednesday that would require that stimulus funds go only to clean-energy projects that rely on materials manufactured in the United States and create a majority of jobs here. The current law requires a “Buy American” provision only for government projects, not private enterprises.

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