U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy says federal trade legislation must include a provision supporting U.S. manufacturing.
The Connecticut Democrat has offered an amendment to "fast track" legislation prohibiting federal agencies from waiving requirements that goods purchased be manufactured in the U.S. if an American company could produce the same item at a competitive price, or if the waiver would cause a U.S. company to close.
“I’m not getting rid of waivers,” Murphy said in a statement. “I’m saying you have to prove you can’t buy something from the United States before you buy it from somewhere else.”
The loss of manufacturing jobs in Connecticut is a sharp political issue, with a nearly 50 percent drop since 1990.
Murphy opposes the trade legislation. It's a priority of President Barack Obama who wants authority to send trade agreements to Congress for up-or-down votes without amendments.
“I'm for free trade, but it needs to be fair trade,” Murphy said in a statement. "For too long, we’ve been shipping money and jobs overseas instead of investing billions of dollars in our manufacturing economy.”
Murphy said the Department of Defense granted 1,173 waivers in 2013 and as much as $475 million for items manufactured overseas.