Brian Francisco
The Journal Gazette

Four U.S. senators from Midwestern manufacturing states – including Mike Braun of Indiana – announced Tuesday they will introduce bipartisan legislation mandating that American-made construction materials be used for federally funded infrastructure and public works projects.

The senators said in a joint statement that their Build America, Buy America Act would close loopholes in longstanding “buy America” laws that otherwise prohibit the use of foreign-made materials in federally funded roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

“In Indiana, Made-in-America is more than a slogan: More Hoosiers are employed in manufacturing than in any other industry,” Republican Braun said in the statement. “U.S. infrastructure projects ought to support workers and create jobs in South Bend and Gary, not in Shenzhen and Guangzhou.”

Shenzhen and Guangzhou are cities in southern China that are part of a major manufacturing hub.

Joining Braun on the Build America, Buy America Act are Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Rob Portman, R-Ohio; and Gary Peters, D-Mich.

“We cannot allow foreign companies to continue to undercut our domestic industries. Without Buy America rules, we are allowing manufacturing to go elsewhere at the expense of taxpayers,” Brown said in the statement.

Waivers from current Buy America requirements can be granted to contractors if domestic steel and iron cost at least 25% more than the corresponding foreign materials. President Donald Trump in January signed an executive order directing the government to give preference in infrastructure projects to American-made steel, iron, aluminum, plastics, polymers, concrete, glass, optical fiber and lumber.

Also Tuesday, Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., announced he had introduced legislation that would establish objective, verifiable performance metrics for organ procurement organizations.

The performance of 58 such organizations currently “is measured by data that is self-reported, unaudited, and fraught with errors,” Young’s office said.

“After carefully studying this issue, it’s clear that the best way to save lives is to bring greater transparency, oversight, and accountability to the organizations responsible for getting organs from the donors to the patients who need them. This legislation will ensure that organ procurement organizations are no longer operating in darkness,” Young said in a statement.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Trump is expected today to order an overhaul of organ transplant and kidney dialysis systems.

Trump’s executive order will instruct Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Alex Azar to develop performance measures for organ procurement organizations, the Post reported.