SKOWHEGAN, Maine — Rep. Mike Michaud says he will introduce a bill requiring the Department of Defense to procure American-made athletic footwear for servicemen and women.
Michaud wants the DOD to abide by the Berry Amendment, which requires food, clothing, fabrics, specialty metals and stainless steel used by the military to be grown or produced in the U.S. The amendment was passed by Congress in 1941 and made permanent in 1994.
The 2nd District Democrat said the DOD circumvents the amendment by requiring soldiers to purchase shoes with their cash allowance.
“If our soldiers’ uniforms have to be made in America, so should the shoes that they use to train,” Michaud said at the New Balance plant Tuesday morning. “At a time of 9 percent unemployment, we need to ensure that our defense procurement is supporting as many American jobs as possible. My bill would do just that.”
The legislation would require that all athletic footwear needed for American servicemen and women be domestically procured.
“New Balance has proven to DOD that it can deliver the footwear according to the military’s specifications, so there is no reason why DOD should be violating the Berry Amendment,” said Michaud. “I urge all branches of the military to voluntarily purchase American-made footwear for our soldiers. But in the event they do not decide to procure American-made shoes, my bill would require them to do so.”
Michaud is a co-sponsor of the Berry Amendment Extension Act. He also is attempting to get the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to abide by the Berry Amendment.