Amendments to House Security Minibus (H.R. 3219)

Heritage Action will key vote the following amendments to H.R. 3219, or Security “Minibus,” which provides fiscal year 2018 appropriations for Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, Energy and Water, and Legislative Branch.

In addition to the key votes specified below, Heritage Action intends to key vote against at least one of the amendments (Castor #38, Norcross #39, Quigley #40, Polis #41, Perry #43, Esty #44, Larson #45) that increase funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. The Heritage Foundation’s budget blueprint recommends eliminating the entire office:

“All of this spending is for activities that the private sector should undertake if companies believe it is in their economic interest to do so. The reality is that the market opportunity for clean-energy investments already exists. Americans spent roughly $456 billion on gasoline in 2014. Both the electricity and the transportation-fuels markets are multi-trillion-dollar markets. The global market for energy totals $6 trillion. There is a robust, consistent, and growing demand for energy technology and services independent of any government efforts to subsidize it.”

Key Vote Alert: “NO” on DelBene Amendment to mandate “Buy American” requirements on Army Corps of Engineers (#60)

The House will vote on an amendment offered by Rep. DelBene (D-WA) to Energy and Water appropriations for fiscal year 2018 (H.R. 3219, or Security “Minibus,” Division D). Similar to other “Buy American” policies, the amendment would impose misguided domestic content requirements on federal government acquisition.

While the politics of “Buy American” are ascendent, its policies include costly mistakes that have been demonstrated to hurt American workers. As Tori Whiting, research associate in the Center for Free Markets and Regulatory Reform at The Heritage Foundation, explains in a recent report, common trends have emerged since these policies were first implemented in the World War II era:

“Domestic content requirements, like those found in the Buy American Act, the Berry Amendment, and various other laws, result in additional regulatory burdens for producers, and increase costs for American taxpayers. All for little or no gain: The policies are unlikely to stimulate job growth in target industries.”

In keeping with the liberal tradition of citing broad-based Congressional “intent” that happens to match its current agenda, Rep. DelBene stated her attempts to merely more narrowly enforce a general appropriations restriction already on the books, stating, in part:

It is unacceptable that the Army Corps is continuing to ignore federal regulations and Congress’ clear intent I hope the Corps reconsiders its decision and complies with the law, because I will keep fighting for U.S. manufacturers and workers until they make the right choice.”

This special interest amendment would actually expand the reach of existing laws governing the procurement of certain types of anchor chains. It would do so by mandating the Army Corps of Engineers (CoE) use only anchor chains manufactured in the U.S. — and would potentially preclude waivers that normally prevent excessive costs to taxpayers.

It would limit supply choices for the CoE, even if the anchor chain was not being used on a naval vessel or for national security purposes. Companies like Lister Chain & Forge, Inc., located in the amendment sponsor’s district, would likely benefit as the expansion of this law would significantly reduce competition for the procurement of anchor chains by CoE.

Injecting protectionism, parochialism and cronyism into policy, especially in federal government procurement led by Army Corps of Engineers, is misguided.

***Heritage Action opposes the DelBene Amendment and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.***