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Our Government Should be Complying Not Just with the Letter but with the Spirit of the Buy American Act

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The Census has been purchasing promotional materials for Census 2010 that were manufactured overseas, and Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-IL) is not happy about it.  In a statement issued today, Lipinski said:

“The Census has some explaining to do, and so far it’s not providing much clarity. Our government should be complying not just with the letter but with the spirit of the Buy American Act.  That’s especially true right now, in the middle of the worst economy in decades with 15 million Americans out of work.  Blaming subcontractors or claiming the purchases are too small to matter isn’t going to cut it.  American taxpayers are spending over $14 billion to pay for the census, including hundreds of millions on this communications campaign.  If nothing else, the Census could write Buy American rules into its contracts with private vendors.  While the Census claims it was trying to save money, it doesn’t save us any money to destroy American jobs by purchasing from foreign companies.

Lipinski also sent a letter to the Census outlining his great concern over this matter.

AAM Executive Director Scott Paul issued a statement on recent reports of the Census’ decision to purchase materials manufactured abroad:

“Unemployment is nearly 10 percent.  Millions of Americans are suffering.  The Census Bureau should ensure that all of its materials are made in America, especially since census workers will be knocking on the doors of scores of families that have been devastated by layoffs.  The Census Bureau has said claimed that these purchases were made by contractors and were under the threshold for compliance with Buy America requirements.  But in this day and age, every job is precious.

“The Census Bureau should be using made in America promotional materials.  We’ve never had a problem finding an American-made t-shirt or hat.  If the Census Bureau and its contractors actually looked, they would find American-made promotional materials as well.  We commend Congressman Lipinski for his efforts to right this wrong, and we hope other leaders in Washington will join him.”

Editor’s Note: The Census is a critical and necessary process that was written into the Constitution. ManufactureThis fully supports participation in the Census and commends the efforts of all those Census employees involved in the process.

*This article originally appeared in Manufacture This on April 16, 2010. Reprinted with permission.

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