U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) today announced major federal legislation to protect and grow defense manufacturing jobs in Connecticut. Murphy was joined by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn), an original cosponsor of Murphy's bill, workers and business owners from several Connecticut defense manufacturers to tell their own stories and discuss how the legislation will impact jobs in Connecticut. U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) are also original cosponsors of this legislation.
"This is a very simple proposal: the Defense Department should give preference to American manufacturers when awarding federal defense contracts,"said Murphy. "Most people assume that the American government already considers American jobs when we hand over our defense dollars to contractors. Well, they don't, but they should. I've traveled the state hearing from manufacturers who keep Connecticut's defense industry strong and the message is clear: every job that we create overseas by awarding contracts to foreign firms is one less job here in America. It's time to change that."
Murphy's American Jobs Matter Act (S. 1246) will require the Department of Defense, for the first time, to measure domestic employment as a factor in rewarding a contract. American manufacturing firms will be able to leverage their contribution to the U.S. economy to win federal contracts by demonstrating how many jobs they will create or retain with the award of a contract.
"American dollars should support American jobs," said Blumenthal. "Our American defense manufacturing workers--particularly those in Connecticut--exhibit exceptional expertise in producing the highest quality equipment for our service men and women. The Department of Defense should make every effort to buy American, promoting economic growth and military security."
In the last five years, the Department of Defense has spent over $700 billion dollars on manufactured goods. An alarming portion of that spending--over $100 billion since the Department of Defense began to comprehensively keep track--was spent on goods manufactured by foreign workers. During the same period, the United States lost 1.7 million manufacturing jobs.
"Our defense industrial base is still the best in the world, but we must protect it against the outsourcing that has steadily eroded our capabilities,"added Murphy. "We need to begin leveraging the massive amount of taxpayer dollars going to firms for manufactured goods, and this legislation will finally give the key segments of our defense industrial base a leg up to create jobs in our state and our country."