OTHER VOICES

Overseas contracts betray US workers

Posted July 15, 2011, at 7:06 p.m.

Millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs have been sent overseas by corporations eager to utilize low-paid foreign workers. To resist this betrayal, Rep. Nick J. Rahall, D-W.Va., helped form the bipartisan Buy American Caucus in Congress to require the federal government to purchase American-made products as much as possible.

However, the Pentagon still signs many foreign contracts that wipe out up to 620,000 jobs here at home.

In 2007, Rahall said, the Department of Defense “allowed over 14,000 contracts for goods and services to go to foreign companies. That’s $5.7 billion American tax dollars we waved goodbye to. We’ve got to shut the floodgates on the tidal wave of taxpayers’ dollars flowing overseas, and shore up our contracts here for goods and services provided by American workers.”

Rep. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., criticizes the Pentagon for using waivers under the Buy American Act to enter foreign contracts. In a new report, “Losing the War At Home,” Murphy questions the “long-term security implications of losing domestic defense suppliers.”

Under the Buy American Act, at least 51 percent of a product must be made in the U.S. to be classified as “American-made.” The act does not even apply to purchases made outside U.S. borders.

Rahall said his caucus “will work together to achieve bipartisan consensus on how to strengthen laws in order to boost manufacturing and job creation … in West Virginia and throughout the U.S.”

Regardless of whether you support or oppose the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, everyone should challenge the wisdom of top Pentagon brass using tax dollars to help foreign manufacturers, rather than American ones.

Charleston Gazette (July 14)

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