IT groups lobby against Buy American provisions

Information technology industry groups, federal contractors, global corporations lobbying to kill the the so-called "Buy American" provisions in the nearly $900 billion economic stimulus package being debated in the Senate.

The Senate measure would allow only U.S.-made iron, steel and manufactured goods to be used in public works projects funded by the bill.

That built on a measure passed last week by the House as part of its $825 billion stimulus plan that would require the use of U.S.-made iron and steel in public works projects.

“The new Buy American provisions of S. 336 [the Senate bill] are as unnecessary as they are harmful,” several dozen companies and groups stated in a letter sent to Senate leaders Feb. 3.

The letter was signed by the Aerospace Industries Association, Coalition for Government Procurement,the Technology Association of America, AT&T, Cisco Systems, IBM Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp.

The industry groups said they believe the Buy American provisions will create anti-American countermeasures from European and Asian purchasers and hurt the global economy.

“Enacting expansive new Buy American restrictions would invite our international partners to exclude American goods and services from hundreds of billions of dollars of opportunities in their stimulus packages and perhaps to adopt Buy-Local rules or raise other barriers to American goods more broadly across their economies,” the letter states.

“The resulting damage to our export markets and the millions of high-paying American jobs they support would be enormous. Given that millions of American workers directly rely upon U.S. global engagement for their jobs, it is vital for the United States to promote, rather than undermine, global commerce,” the companies wrote.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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