By Arlette Saenz
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, introduced a new bill Thursday that would require the federal government to only buy textiles, such as uniforms for federal workers, that are made in America.
“We cheer for American athletes in the field. We ought to be cheering for American workers in the factory,” Brown told ABC News. “It’s clear to me that this is real jobs. This is real help for small business, and U.S. taxpayers have a right to know that the dollars they’re spending are creating jobs in our communities.”
If the “Wear American Act” passes, federal workers, such as prison guards or orderlies at federal healthcare facilities, would be outfitted in uniforms that are strictly made in the U.S.A.
Current law only requires the federal government to buy clothing that is 51 percent American made. Brown cited reports that showed the federal government spends more than $1.5 billion a year on foreign-made products.
“This is a really good way for government to provide a helping hand in partnership with businesses, especially small businesses, to rebuild American manufacturing,” Brown said. “Why not start with Olympics? Why not start with clothes that the U.S. government buys?”
Brown argued that the U.S. government’s purchase of only American-made textile products would help invigorate the American apparel and textile industry.
“It’s not always easy to find shoes and dress shoes and sneakers and sweaters that are made in the U.S.,” Brown said. “The Wear American Act is going to help scale up to rebuild the capacity of the American apparel and textile industries, and it’s good news all the way from American workers and American small business.”
After Team USA wore some items made in China to the 2012 Olympic opening ceremonies, Brown led the Senate’s efforts to convince the U.S. Olympic Committee to ensure that American Olympic athletes only wore American-made clothing. The U.S. Olympic team will wear outfits made by Ralph Lauren to this year’s Olympic opening ceremonies in Sochi.