‘Keep it in America’ bill receiving bipartisan support

TRENTON – A pair of Senate lawmakers representing both sides of the aisle want to require New Jersey’s bi-state authorities and universities to purchase American made products when negotiating public contracts.

Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) and Sen. Kevin O’Toole (R-40) held a joint appearance with the president of the state chapter of the AFL-CIO Monday to support legislation that proposed expanding an existing rule dealing with public contracts and the purchasing of goods manufactured solely in the United States.

“It’s not Republican or Democrat,” said Sweeney (D-3). “This is not a partisan issue by any means at all, but it’s a recognition that we need to create jobs in this country.”

The bill, S1811, would extend the current statute to cover bi-state authorities with New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware (contingent upon each state passing identical legislation) and universities with public contracts.

According to the bill, New Jersey currently requires “the purchase of goods manufactured in the United States in fulfillment of public works contracts, local public contracts, state construction contracts and local schools contracts.”

Neither lawmaker could predict whether Gov. Chris Christie will support the measure. However, the proposal is expected to receive bipartisan support in both chambers.

“It allows us all to come together and gravitate toward a central theme of creating jobs here,” O’Toole said.

‘Keep it in America’ bill receiving bipartisan support