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Sen. Baldwin pushes to keep 'Buy America' in legislation

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, (D) Wisconsin, pushed legislation with "Buy America" reform

(WLUK) -- President-elect Donald Trump is in the midst of his victory tour. He told the crowd in Cincinnati last week, the U.S. government has failed the interest of the American workers. And he plans to change that.

"Buy American, hire American. We're going to do it ourselves. That'll be our new mantra," said Trump to cheers from the crowd.

"I was heartened to hear those words," said U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin.

On Capitol Hill, Baldwin is finding agreement with Trump - if only on the fine point of "buy America."

Back in September, the Senate voted in favor a bill aimed to upgrade failing water systems. Baldwin included a measure requiring American made steel and iron be used on the taxpayer-funded projects.

The move would benefit companies like Neenah Foundry and its workers.

But Baldwin says a conflict arose last week.

"Speaker (Paul) Ryan and House Republicans removed the provision from the water resources Development Act," said Baldwin. "It's just untenable. Stripping this 'buy America' reform I put in on the Senate side is only a giveaway, in my opinion, to foreign companies - Chinese and Russian steel producers - when we're expending taxpayer dollars."

The water infrastructure problems took center stage during the presidential campaigns in Flint, Michigan, where lead pipes led to contaminated drinking water. Similar problems were also detected in other cities, including Green Bay.

Critics say directing federal funds to some companies over others would be unfair.

Ryan's office tells FOX 11 the "buy America" measure remains a "materials requirement" for certain federally-funded projects.

Baldwin and other Democrats sent House leaders a letter pleading to keep the "buy America" requirement from the Senate bill intact for the House to vote on. Baldwin and others even turned to Twitter to try and get Trump to stand by his word.

"He should not be silent this week as we're fighting to restore this "buy America" reform.

So far, no tweet from Trump.

The House has yet to vote on the measure.

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