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Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Ms. KAPTUR. I would like to thank Ranking Member Price for yielding us this time, as well as Chairman Aderholt and full committee Chairman Rogers, for their work on this legislation and for accepting and including the buy American language that we had worked so very hard and requested.

The Department of Homeland Security needs to raise its consciousness about the importance of buying American and its relationship to jobs in America. Our language further clarifies what has long been the intent of Congress, that the Department of Homeland Security must comply with the Berry amendment and buy U.S.-made products. This is an essential provision for the American economy and our manufacturers.

Congress has already voted to explicitly direct the Department of Homeland Security to comply with the Berry amendment. The Department of Homeland Security is either musclebound or has been dragging its feet, but somehow they're not hearing us for some odd reason. Also, the Department of Homeland Security's authorizing committee unanimously adopted an amendment that would ensure permanent compliance.
The Department of Homeland Security, one of the largest departments in our government, should be the leader in Homeland Security, starting with strengthening American procurement. Can you imagine what they procure in a year? I know they buy a lot of U.S.-made flags--or at least they should--but also vessels, our Coast Guard's full array of equipment, security systems, weapons, uniforms, etc. The list goes on and on. So why wouldn't they make an effort to do what Congress directed?

I would like to also acknowledge the fine work of the gentleman from North Carolina, Congressman Larry Kissell, for his consistent leadership on this issue of buying American. I would also like to acknowledge Representative Kathy Hochul, who, in her first term, has been a steadfast leader for buying American as essential for U.S. job creation.

I want to thank the full committee for their commitment to this issue. We would like to invite the Department of Homeland Security to the American table. Let's follow suit with the Department of Defense and the other major departments of our government. Let's buy American and help to contribute to procurement of goods and services made right here in the USA. It's the best investment that we can make in the future.

Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank the ranking member so very much, along with Mr. Aderholt, for including this language in the bill. Let us hope that the Department of Homeland Security is listening, pays attention to the law, and buys American in the national interest.

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