Sen. John McCain paints himself as an all-American hero. So why has he opposed "Buy American," the law for government and military contracts?
In fact, not only has he opposed the law, he also says he "firmly objects" to it and has called it "ludicrous."
This week, he ducked a campaign visit to a Harley-Davidson plant in York, Pa., because—ooops—those Buy American provisions would have required the government to purchase American-made motorcycles.
As recently as 2003 and 2004, McCain voted to waive Buy American laws for defense systems and to exempt six European countries from Buy American requirements—effectively allowing products from those countries to be considered U.S. made in government and military contract bids.
When it comes to military contracts in the aviation and maritime industries, McCain not only embraces foreign corporations over U.S. workers. He wants foreign corporations to play a bigger role. In 2000, McCain voted to ease laws banning foreign control of U.S. airlines. Then he went even further: He voted to allow foreign control of U.S. airlines and to allow foreign airlines to operate on U.S. routes.
U.S. aviation workers already are struggling to maintain jobs, wages and health benefits in an industry rife with bankruptcies, mergers and failures. McCain’s support of foreign airlines threatens U.S. jobs and would cause a race to the bottom for wages and outsourcing jobs.
McCain’s job-killing votes go way back. In 1989, he voted to send defense technology and aviation manufacturing jobs to Japan as part of the development of a new aircraft weapons system. And then he went even further: He voted against an amendment requiring that U.S. firms share at least 40 percent of the work.
The cornerstone of U.S. maritime commercial law is the Jones Act that requires U.S. ships with U.S. crews on domestic port-to-port shipping routes. The act helps maintain U.S. jobs and a trained seafaring workforce and prevents unfair foreign competition. McCain has said he wants “to get rid of the Jones Act” and has actively worked to kill the Jones Act. He even introduced a bill to waive the requirement that U.S.-flagged ships be built in U.S. shipyards with U.S. workers.
These Senate votes by McCain to bleed the nation of family-supporting jobs are literally unknown. But they demonstrate his push for European-based EADS to get the Defense Department’s $35 billion air fleet tanker contract and the recent revelation that he is behind the potential loss of 8,000 jobs in Ohio aren’t isolated incidents. McCain has packed his campaign with job killers. Rick Davis, McCain’s campaign manager, lobbied for the deal to kill Ohio’s jobs. Randy Altschuler, who advises companies on how to ship jobs overseas, is giving McCain economic advice.
As McCain said when asked about America’s lost jobs:
I can’t tell you these jobs are ever coming back. The old jobs aren’t coming back.