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Senator Brown urges DoD to buy 'made in US' clothing

22
Oct '12
Following an Air Force Times report that a U.S. servicemember was unable to obtain American-made boots after having been twice issued Chinese-made ones, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) urged the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to step up efforts to comply with the Berry Amendment that requires that, when possible, the Department purchase clothing made in the United States.

“It’s simple: the Berry Amendment requires that our military’s apparel be produced in the United States. The Pentagon needs to comply with the law. I believe that if we’re going to spend taxpayer dollars, we should be doing so in a way that supports American businesses,” Brown said.

“Our servicemembers should not be given equipment manufactured in other countries when domestic options exist. It just makes plain sense to put U.S. tax dollars back into the U.S. economy—and to have our troops wearing the highest-quality boots and uniforms made in America.”

Established more than 60 years ago, the Berry Amendment requires that, when possible, food, clothing, and textiles purchased by the DoD be made in the United States. Following Air Force Times report, an Air Force spokesman stated that the boots did not have to comply with the Berry Amendment because the purchase had been under $150,000 in value.

Brown has launched a multipronged effort to support American manufacturing. He is the author of the Currency Exchange and Oversight Reform Act, legislation that represents the biggest bipartisan jobs bill—at no cost to U.S. taxpayers—passed by the Senate last year. The legislation would allow the U.S. government to stand up for American jobs when China cheats by manipulating its currency to give its exports an unfair advantage.

He is also the author of the Wear American Act of 2012, which would revise an existing law requiring that 51 percent of federal agency purchases of textiles and apparel be made on products made in the United States, and require that textile and apparel articles acquired for use by federal agencies be manufactured from articles, materials, or supplies entirely grown, produced, or manufactured in the United States. It would provide flexibility to federal agencies in the event that such textiles and apparel are either not sufficient or unavailable for production in the United States.

In February 2012, despite more than 35 years of practice requiring that steel armor plate be both melted and finished in the United States, the Defense Department issued guidance in 2009 that allowed armor plate melted in outside countries—including Russia and China—to be imported and subjected to simple finishing processes in the United States, then deemed to have been “produced” domestically.

Brown introduced United States Steel and Security Act, which would require that steel purchased by the U.S. military be 100 percent “made in America”— both melted and finished in the United States.


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