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Politics & Government

Congressman Urges Pentagon To Use American Made Steel for Navy

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The Department of Defense is getting some firm-handed advice from two U.S. Congressmen to use domestically made steel for the Navy’s long-term shipbuilding strategy.

Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA-18) and Peter Visclosky (D-IN-01) , Chairman and Vice Chairman, respectively, of the Congressional Steel Caucus wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stressing the importance of using American-made metals throughout the supply-chain for naval ships.

Murphy’s 5-point outline

First:  jobs.

“It’s American jobs,” Murphy said.  “Using American taxpayer money should be there to support American jobs through the whole supply chain.”

He describes the supply chain as starting at the mine, then to the mill, and concluding at the manufacturer. 

Second, Murphy said those domestic jobs create domestic taxes.

“The workers' taxes they pay throughout the whole supply chain, the tax the companies pay, that goes back into the commerce to help with other opportunities,” Murphy said.

The third prong is quality control and oversight.  Murphy said items made domestically will make sure taxpayers are getting the right quality for what they’re paying.

“Quality control can carefully be monitored across that whole supply chain,” Murphy said.  “We have run into multiple problems when steel and other goods are brought in from foreign countries where we may not be able to monitor quality control in the same way.”

Fourth, Murphy said domestic production of steel for Navy shipbuilding practices ensures the country does not have a dependence on foreign countries.  He refers to China and Russia as countries that have cut off resources, like natural gas, to other countries because of a dispute. 

“We never want to be in that position with metals or any supplies we need for our defense industry,” Murphy said.

Finally, Murphy talked about long-term competition for prices among manufacturers and companies.  He added that  energy is saved when products are made domestically because there is no need to import goods from overseas. 

The letter includes an estimate that domestically building one aircraft carrier sparks $3 billion worth of economic activity, uses $265 million in American steel, creates 930,000 jobs, and adds $17.5 billion to the country's gross domestic product.