Committees Approve Buy American Textile Legislation

Committees Approve Buy American Textile LegislationArmed services committees in both the House and
Senate have approved legislation continuing the “Buy American” requirement for military procurement
of textiles and apparel, but the two versions of the legislation differ significantly. The House
version maintains and broadens the requirement, while the Senate bill permits exceptions and
waivers that are opposed by US textile manufacturers. The House Armed Services Committee report
says “The ongoing war on terrorism dictates the need to have reliable domestic sources of weapons
and equipment,” and it expands the list of items the Defense Department is required to purchase
from domestic sources. Willis C. Moore III, chairman of the American Textile Manufacturers
Institute (ATMI), has written members urging them to oppose any efforts to weaken the House version
of the legislation and to oppose any weakening amendments on the floor of the House and in a
conference with the Senate.In a related development, Rep. Robin Hayes (R-NC) has introduced
legislation to establish a Buy American requirement, similar to the Defense Department measure, for
purchases made by the newly-created Department of Homeland Security. In introducing the
legislation, Hayes said “Strengthening our homeland security is something that we are all working
hard on, but there is no reason that the Department of Homeland security should not be required to
buy American goods. Both the Defense Department and Homeland Security Department measures are
designed to help maintain a strong domestic base for manufacturing textiles and apparel and reduce
dependence on foreignh manufacturers..By James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent
May 2003