Last updated: July 24. 2013 1:53PM - 114 Views

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PDT Staff Writer

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown says he is stressing American companies with his Wear America Act to boost Ohio’s domestic apparel and textile manufacturing. Brown says his bill is a “Buy America” plan to ensure that the federal government purchases apparel that is 100-percent American made. Current Buy America statutes require that only 51 percent of these products purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars be made in America.

Following the news that the Olympic opening ceremony uniforms that would be worn by American athletes were entirely made in China, bipartisan outrage ensued and resulted in new commitments by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) to make 2014 uniforms in America. As a result Brown has announced a new effort to boost domestic apparel and textile manufacturing.

Brown’s bill, the Wear American Act of 2012, 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.

“Manufacturing helped make this country great. Good-paying manufacturing jobs have allowed hundreds of thousands of Americans to buy homes, send their children to college and retire with security. But for too long, we’ve seen American manufacturing jobs—including textile and apparel jobs—shipped overseas due to unfair trade that has stacked the deck against American workers,” Brown said. “We know how to make things in America, and the textile sector employs more than half a million workers in the United States—which is why the federal government should be purchasing, whenever possible, apparel that is domestically produced. With our widening trade deficit, we should be doing everything we can to support American manufacturing and job creation.”

Following the report on the Olympic uniforms, Brown called on the U.S. Olympic Committee to utilize American clothing manufacturers for this year’s uniforms and use domestic clothing makers for future Olympics, including the 2014 Winter Games.

The 2012 uniforms cost $1,945 for men, and $1,473 for women, and include items such as a $495 shirt and a $498 skirt. Today, following a meeting with USOC Chairman Scott Blackmun and Chairman of the Board Larry Probst, Brown led a group of senators on a letter to the USOC asking it to meet with American manufacturers for future USOC uniform demands, and offering to connect the USOC with these manufacturers.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at flewis@heartlandpublications.com

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