Chesterton Tribune

Visclosky urges DoD to reconsider foreign melting of armor steel plate

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Congressional Steel Caucus Vice Chair Pete Visclosky, D-1st, and Chair Tim Murphy, D-Pa, have sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta regarding the procurement of armor steel plate used in military vehicles. In that letter—signed by 31 other members—the Caucus urges the Department of Defense (DoD) to revise its definition of “produced” to include the melt stage, so that the DoD cannot use armor steel plates melted in other countries.

In 2009, the DoD’s definition of steel “produced” in America made possible the use of armor steel plate melted in foreign countries, according to a statement released on Wednesday. Last year, the Steel Caucus advised then-Secretary Robert Gates to reassess this regulation and to adhere to the 35-year precedent requiring melting for armor steel plate to occur in the United States. The Department is currently accepting public comment on this regulation and the Steel Caucus letter is in response to this request.

“The current definition threatens this country’s defense industrial base by increasing our reliance on foreign suppliers and does so at the expense of domestic workers,” the letter states.

“The manufacturing industry is the backbone of our country; the United States government should be the first in line to support and promote our American steel producers.” Visclosky said. “Further, this issue is one of national security—only American-made steel should be used in the protection of our troops and the defense of our nation. I urge the Department of Defense to reevaluate its definition of ‘produced’ and help ensure the security of our troops.”

Visclosky and Murphy have a long history of supporting the American steel industry. Most recently, they introduced the American Steel First Act, which requires the Department of Defense, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Homeland Security to use only steel and iron made in America in any of these departments’ projects. In the last Congress they helped ensure that Buy America provisions were added to major infrastructure funding bills.

The Congressional Steel Caucus is a bipartisan group of 100 Members of Congress representing districts with steel manufacturers and the domestic steel supply chain.



Posted 9/15/2011