U.S. Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA) and 31 other members of the Congressional Steel Caucus have urged Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to buy only steel melted in the U.S. to make armor steel plate used in military vehicles, fighter jets, and other sophisticated equipment.
Murphy said in 2009 that the Department of Defense expanded the definition of "U.S.-produced steel," which is required by law, to include steel finished here but melted elsewhere. That has shut out American steelmakers.
Taxpayers' money should support American jobs and manufacturing, according to Murphy. "We've seen what happens within our country and other countries that have lost the ability to manufacture and are dependent on other countries, such as China," said Murphy. "While trade is going well, that is fine, but at some point, if another country decides to retaliate and shut down a commodity or those materials, we are then left in a very vulnerable position."
The coalition also stressed that steel quality and troop safety is best assured with domestic production. Murphy said both Democrats and Republicans are raising this issue.