Anthony Rodriguez Bill Would Require American Iron And Steel In Public Works Projects – Florida Politics

Miami-Dade County adopted a nearly identical rule in March.

Taking cues from an almost 89-year-old federal procurement law and a prominent Florida county, Rep. Anthony Rodriguez has filed a bill calling for iron and steel used in future state infrastructure contracts to be American-made.

Rodriguez this week filed HB 619, which would require Florida at large and government entities throughout the state — from counties, municipalities and school boards to the myriad agencies, authorities, taxing districts and water management bodies — to use iron and steel products produced in the United States.

He called it “commonsense legislation” that will curb the outsourcing of jobs and help bring back American manufacturing, help American workers and protect their hard-earned dollars.

“For too long, we have been using our Florida taxpayer dollars to purchase goods and products from companies who choose to make these items in other countries at the expense of our local workforce and skirting our local environmental and workforce protections,” the Miami-Dade County Republican said in a press note. “We must support our American companies by putting them first and ensuring they have every opportunity to compete for local contracts on an even playing field.”

The new rule, if enacted, would become effective July 1. It would apply to most types of projects, including construction, maintenance, repair, renovation and remodeling of buildings, roads, streets, sewers, storm drains, water systems and utilities, among other things.

Like its federal precursor, the Buy American Act of 1993, the strictures outlined in Rodriguez’s bill may be waived if iron and steel domestic supply is inadequate for a project or if it is of unsatisfactory quality.

The bill also would not apply if the use of U.S. iron or steel would increase the total cost of a project by 20%.

In March, Miami-Dade commissioners approved an ordinance proposed by Joe Martinez to create the “Buy American Iron and Steel Procurement Program,” which set guidelines and established a list of iron and steel products that, but for scant exception, must be American-made.

The ordinance, which passed unanimously, has the same requirements — and exceptions — Rodriguez included in his bill.

“It’s a patriotic way to take care of your own backyard,” Martinez told Miami Today at the time, adding: “I hope we protect our people, our own jobs, and we can make us better.”

The bill also tracks with the massive Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act President Joe Biden signed into law Monday. Of six priorities Joe Biden’s administration outlined for the act’s implementation, “Buy American” was second, earning applause from the American Iron and Steel Institute.

That’s because it’s a proven way to enhance domestic manufacturing and support local jobs, said Rodriguez, who is running for a seat on the Miami-Dade Commission.

“It just makes zero sense why the people we elect would outsource our jobs,” he said. “I want to make sure my colleagues and I keep Americans employed, keep our taxpayer dollars working for us, and support American businesses.”

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