A longtime champion of strengthening “Buy American” laws, U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL-3) visited Hoist Liftruck of Bedford Park (Ill.) today to join in the announcement that the company is beginning work on a $925 million U.S. Defense Department contract that will create hundreds of good-paying, middle-class jobs in the area. The contract is to supply the military with high-capacity forklifts and container handlers over the next five years.
Hoist Liftruck and other American manufacturers are aided by laws that require the federal government to buy domestically-produced goods, but today Rep. Lipinski will be introducing the “Buy American Improvement Act” to close in existing laws and make sure tax dollars employ American workers.
“As a strong supporter of our local manufacturers, I could not be more proud of Hoist Liftruck. The company has demonstrated a tremendous commitment to creating jobs in our area. Hoist’s selection for this contract is another reminder of the great products that are being made locally and the tremendous potential for job creation in our communities,” Rep. Lipinski said. “I know that everyone who works at Hoist is up for the task ahead of them, just as hundreds of thousands of workers across America are. That is why we must strengthen Buy American laws and close the loopholes that allow our tax dollars to employ foreign workers rather than Americans. Buying American is one of the fastest and most effective ways to create jobs and get the economy on track. My Buy American Improvement Act will ensure that the federal government is supporting American workers and buying products stamped ‘Made in U.S.A.’”
Hoist Liftruck beat out several competitors to be chosen for a contract worth up to $925 million providing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and federal civilian agencies with the company’s full line of material-handling equipment. The first orders for equipment were received this month and work has begun, with the expectation the company will add hundreds of jobs by the time the contract expires. Because all of the equipment components are made at Hoist’s Bedford Park factory or purchased from nearby suppliers, the contract with the federal government will create spin-off employment and positive ripple effects throughout the economy.
Back in 2011, Rep. Lipinski successfully intervened on the company’s behalf when a $670,000 federal contract for four forklifts was improperly awarded to a South Korean company in violation of Buy American provisions. The assistance from Rep. Lipinski helped Hoist, one of the country’s last forklift manufacturers, grow its workforce from roughly 75 employees five years ago to almost 300 today.
“As the owner of an accomplished U.S. manufacturing company, we take great pride in the revitalization of the Buy American Act. Having been awarded many federal government contracts under this instrumental law, most recently receiving a five-year contract from the Defense Department, Hoist Liftruck is able to increase our workforce and support jobs not just at Hoist, but through extension many other Midwest companies in our supply chain,” Hoist Liftruck President Marty Flaska said. “Congressman Lipinski has been a key figure in standing up for American manufacturing and on behalf of Hoist Liftruck and its employees, we thank him.”
“Manufacturing always has played a vital role in the economy of Bedford Park and the surrounding communities. This contract for Hoist Liftruck, as well as the additional efforts to bolster our manufacturing base, will help keep these important jobs right here and create even more jobs,” said Bedford Park Village President David Brady. “I congratulate Hoist and thank Congressman Lipinski for his commitment to manufacturing and creating jobs in our communities.”
For more than 75 years, the Buy American Act has supported American jobs by requiring the federal government to purchase goods made in America. But it has been gradually weakened by a series of exemptions and lax enforcement. In recent years, the Department of Defense granted more than 44,000 waivers of the law, representing approximately $13.8 billion in wasted taxpayer dollars.
Today, Rep. Lipinski is introducing the Buy American Improvement Act to close the loopholes. The bill restores the definition of an American-made product to one that contains at least 75 percent domestic material, up from the current 50 percent threshold. It also bans the practice of federal agencies splitting contracts to fall under the minimum dollar amount at which Buy American rules apply.