EDITORIAL: 'Buy American' clause is worthy push

NWI Times

The phrase, "Buy American," gets used so often, it has become cliche in our economic dialog.

Thankfully, we have state and Region congressional delegates with a penchant for putting worthy worn phrases into actual practice.

During a visit last week to Indiana University Northwest in Gary, U.S. House Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Ind., and U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., vowed to push for "Buy American" clauses in any infrastructure bills that come before Congress.

That should instill faith in Region industry and laborers, particularly in the steel mills, that these two members of Indiana's congressional leadership are unified behind a key element of Northwest Indiana's economy.

Visclosky, in particular, has been a crusader for implementing fair international trade practices that battle manipulations of steel prices by foreign steelmakers.

The congressman also is pushing for federal funding that would help make South Shore Line commuter rail improvements and extensions a reality for bolstering our Region's economy.

Those projects will require new steel rails for both extending the line from Hammond to Dyer and double-tracking a section of the existing rail for faster commutes.

A "Buy American" clause can and should be placed on that project and others like it to make them a benefit for domestic steelmakers — and their workers — as well.

Brett S. Smith, of the American Iron and Steel Institute, joined Visclosky and Donnelly in the IUN roundtable discussion last week.

Smith expressed concern about the layoffs of 14,000 U.S. steel industry workers within the past two years. We're no stranger to that reality in Northwest Indiana.

Visclosky and Donnelly should be commended for doing their part to put American steelworkers back to work via government infrastructure projects. The rest of Congress should follow suit.

"Buy American" is a worn phrase we all should rally behind with fresh enthusiasm.