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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