Senators Keep ‘Buy American’ in the Stimulus

By Dschabner

Feb 4, 2009 9:07pm

ABC News’ Z. Byron Wolf reports: Senators agreed by voice vote tonight to clarify that the "Buy American" provision in the Senate’s version of the stimulus package should comply with existing treaties.

Then they rejected by a 31-65 vote a proposal by Sen. John McCain to strip the "Buy American" language from the bill. There is no such language in the House-passed stimulus.

McCain warned that the "Buy American" requirement for stimulus funds has "echoes of the disastrous Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act," which many believe exacerbated the Great Depression.

McCain asked unanimous consent that "the comments of literally ever leader in the world (including President Obama)" opposing the "Buy American" provision be entered into the record.

"We are making a very dangerous move tonight," McCain said.

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., the chief "Buy American" cheerleader said, "Both Mr. Smoot and Mr. Hawley are dead. … But this amendment is part of a debate that is alive on the floor of the Senate and across the country. Twenty thousand people a day are losing their jobs. Twenty thousand people a day.

"We’re going to shove a lot of money out the door of this Congress as part of economic recovery," he said. "The question is, are we going to put people back to work on America’s factory floors.

"I do hope that as we push this money out the door we do it in support of American jobs," Dorgan said.

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