Today, State Representatives Mark Pocan and Andy Jorgensen announced plans for legislation that requires materials for Wisconsin infrastructure projects be made and purchased in the U.S. This effort extends and enhances Pocan's original American Jobs Act (now law), which prohibits state agencies from spending tax dollars on services abroad. This new bill responds to a nation-wide trend where state governments purchase prefabricated bridges and building materials from China or other countries.
"An American economy that is built to last is built by Americans and with materials manufactured here in the U.S," stated Pocan. "We must keep jobs on our own soil, which enables both quality standards for products as well as fairness for workers."
Recently, the State of California chose to use manufacturers in China to build and deliver new parts for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Yet, those parts will not have the same guarantees and standards as those produced in the U.S.
"In our state alone 117,000 people work on infrastructure improvements," said Pocan. "Why give a hand-out to companies in China when we have people struggling to find work right here in Wisconsin?"
Financial advantages exist only because Chinese workers are forced to work 16-hour days while being paid only $12 per day.
"Not only should we promote jobs here but the U.S. should promote better labor standards abroad," stated Pocan. "I am looking to Andy Jorgensen to lead the charge to protect jobs in the State Assembly, as I look to continue to promote American jobs and protect American workers in Congress."
Representative Jorgensen will formally introduce the bill when the State Assembly reconvenes in January 2013.