A much discussed provision in the House version of the economic stimulus bill (section 3901 - paragraph J) obligates school districts to use US produced steel for any modernization or renovation projects funded through the stimulus package. This kind of language suggests a crawl toward protectionist sentiments that could hurt international trade.
The "Buy American" provisions in the stimulus package have not gone unnoticed by our trading partners. Last week the EU threatened retaliation if the US adopted protectionist policies. As the entire world comes to grips with a sputtering economy, I doubt anyone wants a trade war. (read the account from the UK's Times Online)
To combat the isolationist sentiment, a host of industry associations (including the US Chamber) sent a letter to the leaders of both parties in the House and Senate urging lawmakers to guard against "Buy American" mandates. To read that letter: Download 09 Letter to Congress on Intl Trade