Bob Casey Says He ‘Always’ Sides With American Workers, But Voted Twice To Relax ‘Buy America’ Requirements

by Chuck Ross
The Washington Free Beacon
May 22, 2024

Donning a steelworker’s hard hat, Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) declared in a campaign ad this week that he will “always stand up to China” on behalf of American workers. But in recent months, the three-term Democrat voted twice for a bill that even one of his fellow Democrats said will put “our foreign adversaries ahead of American-made manufacturing.”

The ad, released this week, features several Pittsburgh steelworkers touting Casey’s support for American-made steel. “Our own government turned their backs on us,” workers say in the ad. “Using Chinese steel to build our infrastructure. We were getting screwed.”

“I’ll always stand up to China to protect American workers,” Casey says in the ad.

“Take that, China,” says a worker.

But Casey’s recent voting record calls that bold claim into question. Casey, who faces the toughest reelection campaign of his career, voted in November and February in favor of President Joe Biden’s proposal to temporarily relax “Buy America” requirements “for steel, iron, manufactured products, and construction materials in electric vehicle (EV) chargers.” Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), who introduced bills to nullify Biden’s waiver, said the Biden proposal would allow American infrastructure dollars to flow “into the hands of Chinese companies to build electric vehicle charging stations.”

Rubio’s bill passed 50-48, with several Democrats siding with Republicans to maintain the “Buy America” provision. Biden vetoed the bill in January. Efforts to override the veto failed by a vote of 50-47 in February. Casey sided with Biden both times.

Casey’s votes pit him against other Senate Democrats locked in tough reelection campaigns, including Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Jon Tester (Mont.). Tester said in February that the waiver would allow “Chinese-bought materials” to be used in EV charging stations.

“President Biden needs to follow the law and enforce my Buy America rule, but his actions could put our foreign adversaries ahead of American-made manufacturing,” Tester said after he voted to override Biden’s veto.

Casey’s votes could also fuel claims made by his Republican challenger, Dave McCormick, that the 17-year Senate veteran is “a rubber stamp” vote for Biden’s agenda.

McCormick, who according to a New York Times poll last week narrowly trails Casey, has hammered the Democrat for holding campaign events with Indivisible Philadelphia, a liberal group that has called to defund police departments. McCormick has also repeatedly called on Casey to rescind his endorsement of Rep. Summer Lee (D., Pa.), a “Squad” member who has accused Israel of committing genocide in Gaza. Casey has refused to say whether he backs Biden’s plan to relocate refugees from Gaza to the United States.

Casey’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.