US flags should be made in US, some lawmakers say

A United States flag blows in the wind near the Illinois Vietnam Memorial on Tuesday, July 3, 2012, in Springfield, Ill.
Seth Perlman | AP
A United States flag blows in the wind near the Illinois Vietnam Memorial on Tuesday, July 3, 2012, in Springfield, Ill.
Posted July 03, 2012, at 11:38 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Should U.S. flags that fly from federal buildings be made entirely in the U.S.A.?

So ask sponsors of the “All-American Flag Act,” introduced in response to the $3.6 million in imports of U.S. flags, mostly from China.

The bill’s sponsors used the day before Independence Day to call on the House to pass a Senate-approved bill that would require the federal government to purchase only flags made entirely from domestic content.

“We should do all we can to support American manufacturing and job creation, especially when it comes to our most treasured of patriotic symbols — the American flag,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat whose state of Ohio is home to U.S. flag makers.

It was not immediately clear why the bill has yet to come up for a vote in the House, which approved the measure in 2010. That bill never came before the Senate before the session ended.

Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, the House’s bill’s chief sponsor, said in a statement, “It’s time for the House to act.”

U.S. flag imports were valued at $3.6 million last year, with $3.3 million coming from China, according to the Census Bureau.

Currently, federal law requires that U.S. flags purchased by the federal government contain a minimum of 50 percent American-made materials. The legislation would require federal agencies to purchase only flags made entirely in the U.S. “from articles, materials, or supplies 100 percent of which are grown, produced or manufactured in the United States.”

“In a time when we face economic hardship, it is critical to invest in the manufacturing base,” Brown said during Senate consideration of his bill last year. “There is no product that deserves a U.S.A. label more than American flags.”

A separate bill, the Genuine American Flag Act, which would prohibit imports for sale of foreign-made U.S. flags, also has been introduced.

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©2012 Los Angeles Times

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