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Corporate Lobbyists Move to Crush "Buy American" Provisions In the Stimulus Bill

Corporate Lobbyists Move to Crush "Buy American" Provisions In the Stimulus Bill
By David Sirota | Open Left

A few weeks ago, I noted Businessweek's cover story which asked a simple question: "How much of Obama's mammoth fiscal stimulus will leak' abroad, creating jobs in China, Germany, or Mexico rather than the U.S?" In the age of corporate written trade policies that incentivize outsourcing, this is a key question, as U.S. tax dollars could end up simply heading offshore unless Congress takes action.

The good news is that Congress is taking action, attaching legislation by Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-IN) mandating that stimulus money spent on iron and steel be spent in the United States. The bad news is that Bloomberg News now notes that a corporate lobbying campaign is ramping up to strip those provisions out:

General Electric Co. and Caterpillar Inc. are among U.S. exporters that oppose "Buy American" provisions in the $825 billion stimulus legislation...

The fight presents a dilemma for President Barack Obama, who must balance demands from unions and Democrats to protect American jobs against the threat that the Buy American measure would spark protectionist measures by other countries that might deepen a global recession.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Emergency Committee for American Trade in Washington and other business groups warned of that possibility in a letter today to congressional leaders such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The story notes that both GE and Caterpillar generates roughly half of its sales from outside the United States, so their opposition to "Buy American" provisions isn't surprising. And though the names of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Emergency Committee for American Trade In Washington include references to the U.S./America, their membership is comprised of corporations whose profit margins have greatly benefited from free trade and procurement policies that encourage them to troll the world for the worst labor, environmental and human rights conditions.

But a spokesman for U.S. Steel has it right. "If American tax dollars are going to be invested, it seems only rational that American products would be favored...The whole intention is to stimulate the creation of American jobs." That's a truism, even if U.S. Steel will benefit from it.

It's not clear whether "Buy American" provisions will survive the U.S. Senate - the house of Congress that traditionally rubber-stamps Corporate America's wishes. And it's not yet clear where the Obama administration is on the issue, especially considering Obama economic aide Larry Summers' recent letter stating - rather perplexingly - that "the incoming Obama Administration has no intention of using any funds to implement an industrial policy" - as if having any industrial policy would be horrific.

That will have to be balanced against Obama's desire to show a real boost in domestic macroeconomic data after the stimulus. Indeed, stripping out Buy American provisions in the short term - and slow-walking fair trade reforms in the long-term - will limit the effectiveness of the stimulus package in boosting those macroeconomic data.

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Actually the smoke and mirror act has begun.

This stimulus package is garbage and will do nothing for the average american but it will make the jews rich.

In one breath the jew puppet obama says this crap of a stimulus package will produce jobs then states things will get worse before they get better!


Nothing is done for small businesses!

Nothing is done for working parents execpt they can expect to work two or more minimum wage jobs to put food on the table. Nothing will be done to increase the average pay check.

Where is help for day care?

Americans are starving while the jew bankers ride around in luxury jets. Why not allow the average american to collect food stamps instead of throwing obscene money to the jew bankers!! PEOPLE ARE STARVING OR EATING ONLY BREAD!!!

Unemployment is staggering yet this puppet and the demasses and the repukes are all millionares and do not even feel the pain of this DEPRESSION! THATS RIGHT THIS IS A DEPRESSION!! They are lying when they call this a ressession. THIS IS A FULL BLOWN DEPRESSION!!!

This crap of a stimulus package will never work as long as there is nothing done to decrease the military budget. Until the military budget is cut the puppet obama will only deliver what the jews want, SMOKE AND MIRRORS!!

The corrupt repukes and demasses will sell this crap to all of those dumb ass americans who voted for this puppet with a smile on their face. Never mind the american public does not have a DAMN THING TO SAY ABOUT WHAT GOES INTO THIS CRAP OF A STIMULUS PACKAGE OR HOW TAX PAYER MONEY IS SPENT!!


If you think this crap of a stimulus package will put food on your table you deserve every bit of pain this puppet obama will cause.

If you voted for this puppet you deserve everything you get SO JUST SHUT UP AND SUFFER AND YOU WILL SUFFER FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEARS NO DOUBT ABOUT!!!

y do u hate jews??? i agree but " jew bankers"

I agree that the tone of the first post is to too hateful to be effective and that hate has no place in any serious debate in America. However, I think that the tone accurately communicates a dangerous trend in American public opinion.

Americans have woken up to find their politicians overtly serving the interests of another country--even when it seems to directly conflict with American interests. They are starting to question whether any of our middle east policy even takes into account the interests or opinions of the American people. Even worse, it is becoming obvious that sources of complete and objective information are less available that we ever though possible.

Then, in their feelings of impotence to affect their own government's policies, increasingly resort to blame and hate. If you project this into the future you will not find the America, Israel or greater Middle East that most Americans would like to see emerge.

I have read posts across the Web from Jewish Americans who see the danger in this trend and who speak of the same frustrating moral objections to the blind rubberstamping of policies that seem to be dictated by extreme anti-Arab string-pullers.

Moderate Jews are lumped in with the pro-Israel extremists on one hand and then called "self hating Jews" by radicals on the other fringe. Yes, ALL American moderates seem to get blasted from both sides. Us moderates have to stick together!

I hope THIS site can provide leadership on how all Americans (Jews and Gentiles) can work together to wrestle back control of our government and curb its antics around the world.

Specifically, let's pressure the new White House to bring back the open forums for ordinary Americans to debate these issues for all to see. This will expose the hate on all fringes and then allow more moderate Americans to gently reel the American political process into to something more transparent and constructive.

I believe that an American public that feels in control of its own government and sees the ability of that government to influence Israeli government policy instead of the other way around will continue to strongly support Israel.

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