On the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, TSA gave its employees bracelets to commemorate the tragic events of the day, but the 70,000 bracelets it bought were made in China, Bloomberg reported earlier this month.
Now, a local Congress member is blasting the U.S. Transportation Security Administration and wants answers so this does not happen again.
U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, founder and co-chairman of the congressional Buy American Caucus, sent a letter on Tuesday to John Pistole, administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, criticizing the decision.
“These bracelets cost U.S. taxpayers $17,500, and was another poor decision in a long line of contracting awards throughout the federal government that have cost American jobs and sent American tax dollars to manufacturers overseas,” Murphy wrote. “While your goal of commemorating the tragic events of that day is one we all share as Americans, this purchase could have, and should have, been done in a way that supports American jobs.”
TSA officials told Bloomberg that they found four American firms that manufacture the bracelets, but those companies could not deliver the bracelets in time.
“By awarding this contract to a company who imported the items from China – a country with questionable labor practices, a dismal record of human rights violations and a manipulated currency – your agency denied American workers the opportunity to manufacture these commemorative bracelets with pride here in the United States,“ Murphy said.
Murphy wrote that he is concerned about TSA’s interpretation of the law governing this type of procurement.
“The Buy American Act requires that your agency purchase manufactured goods that are made in America except in certain extenuating circumstances, in which case a waiver to the Act may be granted. It does not appear that any of those conditions were met in this case. Please clarify the statutory authority by which you made this purchase, and whether a waiver was issued,” Murphy said.
Murphy is a Democratic candidate a U.S. Senate seat.