Press Releases

House Passes Defense Authorization Bill with DelBene, Cantwell’s Aluminum Priorities

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Washington, D.C., July 21, 2020 | comments

Today, the House of Representatives passed the bipartisan FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (H.R. 6395), Congress’ annual defense authorization bill. This bill includes two key amendments sponsored by Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) that would strengthen the domestic aluminum industry and support good-paying jobs in the sector. Senator Maria Cantwell (WA) led a similar effort in the Senate.

The two amendments would:

  • Add domestic aluminum procurement preferences for the Department of Defense, Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, and Amtrak. Currently, there are preferences for steel, iron, and other manufactured products but not for aluminum.
  • Require the Secretary of Defense to submit a report on how the Defense Production Act could be used to increase the refining, processing, and manufacturing of aluminum.

“These changes to the defense authorization bill will help support our nation’s aluminum industry, which has been hit hard in recent years due to China’s predatory trade practices. This has depressed prices in the global market and harmed American businesses and workers, specifically in Washington state,” said DelBene. “These policies will encourage the federal government to look domestically to meet its procurement needs, supporting good-paying jobs here at home.”

“U.S. aluminum production is important to national security. The Senate NDAA bill includes an amendment I introduced to make sure our national security can depend on a domestic supply of aluminum. I look forward to working with Representatives DelBene and Smith to continue strengthening U.S. aluminum production,” said Cantwell.

“This is a huge step in the right direction towards domestic production and national security. We’re encouraged by the bipartisan support of American workers. This is a key piece of the puzzle towards securing American jobs and supporting those local economies. It is critical that we drive towards Defense Production Act Title III,” said Zach Griffith, President of IAMAW. “Building strong foundations for the American aluminum industry is smart and overdue. On behalf of Local Lodge 2379 and all the hardworking families who depend on bipartisan support, we thank everyone for your continued focus and commitment to these goals.”

More information about the FY 2021 NDAA can be found here. After the Senate passes its version of the NDAA, any differences will need to be addressed in a conference committee. 

DelBene and Cantwell, along with Senator Patty Murray (WA) and Congressman Rick Larsen (WA-02), have been assisting the over 700 workers at Alcoa’s Intalco plant in Ferndale, the last aluminum smelter west of the Mississippi River. In April, Alcoa announced the plant’s curtailment. Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor approved the workers’ Trade Adjustment Assistance application, which the lawmakers supported. 
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