Techies win Buy American battle

ITAA's Joe Tasker: The "Buy American" compromise lets Congress study domestic content without disrupting defense procurements.

Henrik G. de Gyor

The technology industry emerged victorious in the fight over "Buy American" provisions included in the Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2004.

Provisions added to H.R. 1588 by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., were eliminated or significantly altered in final language adopted by House-Senate conference committee.

The conferees dropped "the most potentially harmful components of the House 'Buy American' provision, which sought to increase U.S.-made content of all weapons systems procured by the Defense Department," said John Douglass, president and chief executive officer of the Aerospace Industries Association of Washington.

The compromise will allow members of Congress to study the amount of domestic content in defense procurements without totally disrupting the procurement system, said Joe Tasker, senior vice president for government affairs at the Arlington, Va., Information Technology Association of America.

"We're not of the view that there is a real problem here to address, that the U.S. needs to do more to build commercial products. But if they are going to have a conversation, let's have it. I'm just glad they reached a compromise that didn't cause more problems than it solved," Tasker said.

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