Kissell Introduces Bill To Expand Buy American Textiles

Rep. Larry Kissell, D-N.C., has introduced a resolution in Congress that would require the
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to buy most of its clothing and textiles from US sources.

The resolution would build on his successful effort last year  to include in the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act a requirement for the Transportation Security Administration
to purchase uniforms made in America. The new measure is in the form of an amendment to the
so-called Berry Amendment that for years has required the Defense Department to buy American
textiles and apparel whenever possible. It would require DHS to procure all items involving
textiles — such as clothing, tents, tarpaulins, covers and other fabric — from domestic

In introducing the legislation, Kissell said, “If we are truly determined to turn our economy
around, we need to focus on securing and creating domestic manufacturing jobs.” He pointed out that
a number of countries place restrictions on purchases by their governments, preventing US goods
from competing in some overseas markets.

Cass Johnson, president of the National Council of Textile Organizations, said the 
Kissell resolution would more than double the impact of his earlier legislation and help ensure a
“thriving textile industry and manufacturing base in this country.”

The measure could have rough sledding this time around, however, as President Barack Obama
has expressed his concern over any legislation that could be viewed as protectionist, and
government agencies generally are opposed to Buy American requirements because of the impact on
their budgets.

July 21, 2009