"Buy American" Update

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The Senate will vote on this surprisingly contentious issue tonight, after a day of vocal lobbying from corporations and other countries. Sens. Byron Dorgan and Max Baucus have an amendment to make the "Buy American" provisions consistent with international trade obligations.  That's in line with what the White House has requested.  It's not clear what the language will require; either companies would be required to use American-made steel, iron and other commodities in projects, or they won't.

Trying to salvage the Buy American provisions late today, the Steelworkers Union urged lawmakers to include Canada in its definition of "American.")  Some Democrats have threatened to withhold support from the legislation if it doesn't include Buy American provisions. The Senate and House versions of "Buy American" will have to be reconciled in a conference committee.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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