• 70°

Leading the way in D.C.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, much was made by the media about the concerns of working class voters, particularly in the rust belt and midwest states that have seen a significant loss of manufacturing jobs over the past few decades.

This situation has been exacerbated by a practice currently taking place in our government.

As it stands now, federal agencies can use what is known as a domestic content waiver to get around Buy American laws requiring goods and services to be purchased from companies at home.

According to the offices of U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, this waiver authority has been overused and an excessive number of waivers have been granted. The senators said there has been no system in place, government-wide, to track abuse of waivers.

This week Brown and Portman, along with fellow Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, and Lindsay Graham, R-South Carolina, introduced new legislation, which they said would would direct the General Services Administration to create a public website, BuyAmerican.gov, which would display information about each requested waiver by government agencies.

This is a good first step toward better transparency in government and will help reduce abuse of this system.

In our polarized political climate, it seems the two parties in Washington rarely work together to get anything done. It is refreshing to see Ohio’s senators, coming from different parties and often at odds politically, being able to look past differences and craft this bill together with a bipartisan group of colleagues.

We urge the Senate to take up and pass this legislation and commend Brown and Portman for leading the way for much needed consensus and compromise.