Machinists, Rep. Norcross Leading Charge for ‘Buy American’ Defense Expansion

An amendment championed by the IAM and U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ) that would dramatically increase domestically made procurement requirements in major defense programs has cleared a critical hurdle in Congress.

The IAM, North America’s largest aerospace defense union, has been pushing the increase for years in order to strengthen the defense industrial base and domestic supply chain while helping prevent vulnerabilities created by military products being made in China and other countries.

“Buy American policies serve the public good by targeting our tax dollars for the purchase of American-made products and services,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “We must understand that the foundation of our industrial base lies with the skills and abilities of the American worker. Congressman Norcross’s amendment would help ensure that our tax dollars are used to support the U.S. workforce and the firms who employ them.” 

READ: Machinists Union letter supporting Rep. Norcross’s “Buy American” NDAA amendment

The amendment passed on a bipartisan vote during a House Armed Service Committee mark-up of the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The legislation would increase “Buy American” requirements for major defense programs from 55 percent to 60 percent upon the bill’s enactment. Requirements would further rise to 65 percent by 2024 and to 75 percent by 2029.

“I am proud to have fought for provisions that make America safer by investing in the American worker,” said Norcross. “This bill will put us on a path to build back better by increasing our domestic supply chain capabilities, strengthening our workforce, and giving our service members the tools they need to win the future fight.”

The number of Chinese suppliers in the U.S. defense industrial base has risen 420 percent since 2010, according to a report from the data analytics firm Govini.

Under Buy American defense procurement policy, Canadian produced military components are considered domestically made. The Norcross Buy American amendment retains a preference for Canadian-made military products.

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Updated: September 10, 2021 — 8:09 am