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Steel Caucus Sends Letter to Secretary Panetta: Urges DoD to Use Only American-Melted Armor Steel

Congressional Steel Caucus Chairman Tim Murphy (PA-18), Vice Chairman Pete Visclosky (IN-01), and 31 cosigners today sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta regarding the procurement of armor steel plate used in military vehicles. The Caucus urged the Department of Defense (DoD) to revise its definition of "produced" to include the melt stage, so that the DoD cannot use armor steel plates melted in other countries.

In 2009, the DoD's definition of steel "produced" in America opened up the use of armor steel plate that is melted in foreign countries. Last year, the Steel Caucus sent a letter to then-Secretary Robert Gates urging the DoD to reassess this regulation, and to adhere to the 35-year precedent that requires melting for armor steel plate occur in the United States. The Department is currently accepting public comment on this regulation, and the Steel Caucus letter is in response to this request.

As stated in the letter, "The current definition threatens this country's defense industrial base by increasing our reliance on foreign suppliers and does so at the expense of domestic workers."

"The manufacturing industry is the backbone of our country; the United States government should be the first in line to support and promote our American steel producers." said Visclosky. "Further, this issue is one of national security -- only American-made steel should be used in the protection of our troops and the defense of our nation. I urge the Department of Defense to reevaluate its definition of "produced' and help ensure the security of our troops."

"Our letter makes clear that the Defense Department must follow the law, and purchase steel that's melted in America. Doing so ensures our industrial base is vibrant and ready to respond in defense of our nation during a time of war," said Murphy. "But just as important, buying steel made in America ensures our troops are protected with armor that's not only well-built, but absolutely flawless. The Pentagon shouldn't take shortcuts on safety by importing foreign-made products when there's ample domestic capacity to produce steel armor plate."

Congressmen Murphy and Visclosky have a long history of supporting the American steel industry. Most recently, they introduced the American Steel First Act (H.R. 1703), to require the Department of Defense, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Homeland Security to use only steel and iron made in America in any of these departments' projects. In the last Congress they were instrumental in ensuring Buy America provisions were added to major infrastructure funding bills.

The Congressional Steel Caucus is a bipartisan group of 100 Members of Congress representing districts with steel manufacturers and the domestic steel supply chain. Through legislation, roundtable discussions, and hearings, the Steel Caucus focuses on the needs of the steel industry and what it takes to level the playing field for employers and preserve American jobs.

Cosigners of the letter to Secretary Panetta include: Murphy (R-PA), Altmire (D-PA), Critz (D-PA), Visclosky (D-NJ), Lipinski (D-IL), Holden (D-PA), Carson (D-IN), Kaptur (D-OH), Kissell (D-NC), Doyle (D-PA), Rob Bishop (R-UT), Brooks (R-AL), Harper (R-MS), Jones (R-NC), Reed (R-NY), Myrick (R-NC), Franks (R-AZ), Wilson (R-SC), Butterfield (D-NC), Crawford (R-AR), McKinley (R-WV), Rahall (D-WV), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Craavack (R-MN), Stivers (R-OH), Sewell (D-AL), Aderholt (R-AL), Lynch (D-MA), Kucinich (D-OH), Kinzinger (R-IL), McCotter (R-MI), Kildee (D-MI) and Capito (R-WV).

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