Trump

President Donald Trump speaks at Snap-On Tools, Tuesday, April 18, 2017, in Kenosha, Wis. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

It looks like Donald Trump and Tammy Baldwin might have found common ground, and it might pit the Republican president against House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Baldwin, the Democratic senator from Wisconsin, has been pushing for buy-American legislation that would require American-made steel for water infrastructure projects.  

During his Wisconsin visit on Tuesday, Trump revisited his populist campaign rhetoric with a "Buy American, Hire American" initiative, which calls for stricter laws pertaining to the use of American-made steel and iron for projects receiving federal funding.

In an interview Tuesday with Charles Benson from TMJ4 in Milwaukee, Trump, who has signed executive order requiring American steel in oil pipelines, backed Baldwin's initiative.

"I’m very much into that and I agree with her 100 percent," he said.

But support from GOP congressional leaders has been less than enthusiastic. 

Last summer, before Trump's election, Baldwin introduced the “Made in America Water Infrastructure Act.” It would require that projects funded by the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, a federal-state partnership created in 1996 to ensure safe drinking water, use only U.S.-made iron and steel. 

In September Baldwin's proposal was tacked onto the Water Resources Development Act, which had broad bipartisan support, passing the Senate on a 95-3 vote. 

Under Ryan, a Republican from Janesville, the House stripped the language from the bill. And when Baldwin requested that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put it back in, he declined.  

Turns out, the House's move to eliminate Baldwin's proposal came after lobbying from foreign interests, including lobbyists representing steel manufacturers from Russia, Japan and Brazil, according to a Wall Street Journal report

Baldwin reintroduced her bill last month. 

It remains to be seen if GOP leaders will fall in line, or if Trump will have to seek Democratic support to turn his priorities into reality.   

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Steven Elbow joined The Capital Times in 1999 and has covered law enforcement in addition to city, county and state government. He has also worked for the Portage Daily Register and has written for the Isthmus weekly newspaper in Madison.