Buy American Provision Removed From $19.1 Billion Water Bill

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Setting the stage for what could be the first clash between President-elect Donald Trump and Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan and some congressional Republicans raised concerns about a provision in a bill that would require the use of American-made iron and steel for U.S. water infrastructure projects.

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The bill, which provides billions of dollars in federal funding, initially included a requirement that federal money could largely only be used to buy U.S.-produced iron and steel. The provision has now been removed from the bill, after Ryan and others said the requirement would pick winners and losers among U.S. companies and shouldn’t be included in the final legislation.

Their concern is that the measure, which raises the threshold for how much of the steel-manufacturing process has to occur in the U.S., would direct federal funding to some domestic companies and not others.

The GOP opposition could draw fire from Trump, who said repeatedly on the campaign trail that the government should find ways to support U.S. manufacturers. On Wednesday, an amendment was introduced that would restore the buy-American requirement to a provision providing for $19.1 billion in drinking water projects.

Domestic Steel Shipments Up in October

The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported that for the month of October 2016, U.S. steel mills shipped 6,832,801 net tons, a 0.9% increase from the 6,769,312 nt shipped in the previous month, September 2016, and a 7.3% decrease from the 7,369,472 nt shipped in October 2015. Shipments year-to-date in 2016 are 72,635,819 nt, a 1.2% decrease from shipments of 73,532,445 nt in the first 10 months of 2015.

A comparison of October 2016 shipments to the previous month shows the following changes: hot-dipped galvanized sheets and strip, no change; cold-rolled sheets, down 2%, and hot-rolled sheets, down 4%.

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