From CNN's Jack Cafferty:
There's no shortage of controversy when it comes to the massive stimulus bill – including whether or not it should include a "Buy American" provision.
Supporters of the "Buy American" provision want all bridges, tunnels and other infrastructure to be made of American materials.
Supporters insist that using only U.S. made goods in work projects - like bridges, roads and tunnels - will help jump-start the economy by giving business to American companies. Steel companies and labor unions are pushing for such a provision. But others worry that restrictions could start a trade war, and make the economic downturn even worse.
When the House passed its stimulus bill last week – it ensured that only U.S. made iron and steel can be used for construction – with a few notable exceptions. But the Senate has agreed to softened the "Buy American" clause, saying it won't override existing trade treaties.
President Obama says he doesn't want any provision that would violate U.S. trade rules. Already some of our closest trading partners are voicing concern. The European commission says it might challenge such a move if it becomes law. And Canada says it would violate NAFTA if the U.S. buys only American-made steel.
Some economists are also hesitant - saying now is not the time to institute any kind of protectionist measures. If the U.S. refuses to buy foreign made goods, our trading partners might decide to stop buying our exports - which could hurt us even more in the long run.
Here’s my question to you: Should the final version of the stimulus package contain a "Buy American" provision?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Billy from Las Vegas writes:
The argument that "Buy American" would start a "trade war" is bogus. This country has been in a trade war for decades. Our manufactures and farmers have been screwed over by European, Japanese and Korean import duties on American products going back to just after WWII and by the Chinese since the early 1990s. There has never been a "level playing field" with these countries.
Jim from Las Vegas writes:
Absolutely, yes! What good does it do if we spend a trillion dollars if all of it winds up going overseas in one form or another? We are already a net-importer, which is a big part of our problem. One of the reasons Obama was so popular in the rust-belt was his stance on bringing jobs back to America. It's time for him to follow through on this.
Robert from Galveston writes:
How are we going to buy only U.S.-made products when U.S. companies have been sending our manufacturing jobs overseas for the last 30 years? Most of our steel mills are closed or packed up and sold overseas, our cars are made here with components made elsewhere, there are no TV manufactures in this country and the list goes on, and on.
Jack, Absolutely we should have buy American provisions in any stimulus package. The purpose of the bill is to stimulate the American economy, not Canada's, nor Britian’s and definitely not China's. What are they going to do, sue us, attack us, well, maybe China.
How shortsighted. We expect the rest of the world to lend us the money to fund our stimulus package then add a "buy American" clause to shut them out. It would serve us right if foreigners quit purchasing our Treasury Bonds and let have a really deep depression.