On Saturday, both chambers approved a "Buy American" iron and steel bill that will expand a provision already in effect for the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Water Development Board. The measure now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk.
Senate Bill 1289 by state Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, would require large state projects to purchase iron and steel from an American supplier if the cost doesn’t exceed 20 percent more than the price of cheaper, foreign imports.
Senate Bill 1289 by state Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, would increase “Buy America” provisions already in effect for the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Water Development Board to all state agencies.
Just weeks after President Donald Trump signed his “Buy American, Hire American” executive order, some Texas lawmakers are angling to do their part to bolster the first half of the slogan with their own protectionist measure.
A bill sponsored by state Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, that would require that only steel made in America be used in state construction projects is moving forward after easily passing the Texas Senate.
State Sen. Brandon Creighton is pushing a bill that would require Texas to use only steel made in America in state projects.
With Texas and steel manufacturers across the country long struggling to compete with foreign companies offering steel at cheaper prices, the Conroe Republican says his Senate Bill 1289 will help preserve jobs by requiring that only steel made in the United States be used on any Texas state project or construction job.
As a fourth and final element of this executive order, where we go to this box here, the order strongly reaffirms the melted and poured standard for U.S. steel production. The standard remains under attack by foreign interests and lobbyists, but it is critical to maintaining the integrity of our Buy American laws.
Semi-finished steel, such as steel slab, accounts for about 90 percent of the input costs of a finished steel product. And if a lesser standard than melted and poured were used, slabs could be imported from countries like China and Russia and only 10 percent of the production of steel would likely occur in the United States, with all of the negative impacts on jobs this would entail.
Here, it is useful to note that every direct job in the U.S. steel industry creates seven more jobs in the U.S. economy. And through this multiplier effect, the steel industry here in America supports more than a million jobs.
As part of this multiplier effect, the use of the melted and poured standard ensures that the benefits of Buy American are felt throughout the supply chain, assisting suppliers of raw materials critical to steelmaking, such as iron ore, coal, and limestone miners. In each of these ways, the melted and poured standard would let us fully capture the positive impact of infrastructure spending on the iron and steel manufacturing industry supply chains. From the iron mines of Minnesota, Michigan and Alabama, and coal mines of Kentucky and West Virginia, to the integrated mills of Indiana and Pennsylvania, to the downstream finishing and fabrication shops throughout the nation.
As a final comment, critics of Buy American policies typically offer two lines of attack. The first is that Buy American policies drive up prices in costs, and therefore harm consumers and taxpayers. However, this critique fails to take into account either the positive income and tax-based effects generated by Buy American, or the external benefits associated with strengthening the manufacturing and defense industrial base through domestic procurement preference programs.
In particular, Buy American and Hire American policies lead to increased jobs and economic growth, higher wages, and a more robust tax base, and thereby offset any price or cost effects. At the same time, it is critical to the long-term economic and national security of this country to maintain a robust manufacturing and defense industrial base. And Buy American contributes to this effort across virtually every sector of our manufacturing economy, even as Hire American helps us maintain a highly skilled and highly trained domestic workforce.
The second line of attack of Buy American raises the specter of retaliation by our trading partners. This is simply a red herring, given that virtually all of our trading partners embrace similar kinds of domestic preference procurement programs and such programs are fully compliant with international trade law. This argument also rings hollow, given that the available evidence that I’ve shown you already indicates the U.S. is a big net loser in the global government procurement market.
America cannot be a great power without a vibrant steel industry. Steel is the lifeblood of a healthy, wealth-creating manufacturing economy. That’s why every major industrial country goes to great lengths to support its steel sector — except perhaps the United States.
WAXAHACHIE — From skyscrapers to farmhouses and military vehicles to commuter cars, iron and steel have long supported Americans and the economy. In an effort to raise awareness on the important role the steel industry plays in the local and state economy, Friends of Texas Iron and Steel, a grassroots advocacy group, dedicates its time to educating Texans and state legislatures on the role the industry plays.
Do you remember when China was accepted into the World Trade Organization in 2001? Presidents Clinton and Bush, as well as many other public policy leaders, predicted that it would improve the U.S.-China trade balance and would encourage China to abandon communism for free-market capitalism, both of which would benefit America.
China’s cabinet says it has “basically completed” its targets this year to reduce excessive production capacity in the nation’s steel and coal sectors, but analysts have questioned whether the government’s campaign will have any real impact.
An administrative law judge has dismissed U.S. Steel’s Section 337 case that called for a total ban on Chinese steel imports.
U.S. Steel wants all Chinese steel imports banned, claiming China’s steelmakers have fixed prices, ducked tariffs and stolen trade secrets. Judge Dee Lord with the International Trade Commission ruled the company cannot pursue an antitrust case through Section 337, the federal code that allows for investigations into unfair trade practices.