Burns renews push for ‘American Made Jobs Plan’ to bring back manufacturing

EBENSBURG, Aug. 11 – In a move that swiftly gained bipartisan traction, state Rep. Frank Burns is again introducing game-changing legislation to benefit U.S. workers by introducing the return of long-lost domestic manufacturing and steel jobs.

Burns, D-Cambria, said his “American Made Jobs Plan” is a three-bill package designed to end our economy’s heavy reliance on China and other countries and reverse decades of unfair trade policies, driven by corporate greed and special interests, that have helped wipe out the middle class in Pennsylvania and Cambria County.

“For too many years, we’ve been fed the lie – by big-monied interests and their elected enablers –  that trade pacts which stripped millions of jobs from our manufacturing base would be good economic policy in the long run,” Burns said. “Well, when I look around, I sure don’t see it. Either I need a bigger magnifying glass, or we need to do something really big to reverse this trend.”

As a co-chair of the state House Steel Caucus, Burns helped facilitate a tour of the US Steel operations in Pittsburgh so his fellow legislators could hear first-hand about the issues affecting the industry.

In a nutshell, Burn’s legislation seeks to restore manufacturing jobs by requiring use of U.S.-made steel in construction or repair of all underground pipelines, and in any private project that receives taxpayer funding.

To further assist in the repatriation of jobs, Burns wants to give a 2% bid discount to companies that agree to use American-made materials on publicly funded projects, such as those carried out by school districts, municipalities and state agencies.

“This is one way to bring back good-paying, family-sustaining jobs – by leveling the playing field for hardworking people and industries that were economically steamrolled by unfair competition,” Burns said. “It’s time to take off the gloves and fight bare-knuckled for the forgotten, which I’m not afraid to do.”

Burns is particularly encouraged at the early bipartisan support received by his proposals, which would:

  • Amend the Underground Utility Line Protection Act to require American-made steel to be used in all construction and repair of underground pipelines. Per current state law, steel is considered American-made if at least 75 percent of the raw material and production occurs in the United States.
  • Require any construction or repair projects done by a private entity that receives any taxpayer funding to use American-made steel. 
  • Provide a 2% bid discount on bids for public projects when American-made materials are used in the price quote.

“With tens of thousands of people in PA unemployed, we cannot afford to wait to take action,” Burns said. “Since 2001 our state has lost more than 300,000 manufacturing jobs to corporate profitability and one-way trade deals, a statistic that should sicken any American. It’s well past time for this legislature to take bold, decisive action to bring those jobs back, to rebuild the middle class, and to bring PA back as an industrial powerhouse.”