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Could New Balance be the Shoe of the Military?

After a major push from Congress, the National Defense Authorization Act will now require the military to give recruits US-made footwear, the Portland Press Herald reported Wednesday.

American-made shoe companies aiming for the coveted government contract now could put their shoes on the feet of armed forces. Despite recent negative press due to a perceived pro-Donald Trump stance, a big contender for the position is New Balance, which  boasts 900 employees in Maine and created a shoe last year that they say complies with the Department of Defense’s rules.

Imperative to the bill’s approval, three members of Maine’s congressional delegation played a pivotal role in the passing of the bill: Republican Sen. Susan Collins, Independent Sen. Angus King and Rep. Bruce Poliquin all contributed to the effort.

The House of Representatives is expected to pass the bill in the next week, and if passed will be implemented over the next two years.

Proponents for the bill claimed that by not using American-made shoes, the Department of Defense is in breach of the Berry Amendment, a law requiring defense procurement come from domestic sources which the Department of Defense has been able to get around by claiming that the footwear did not meet their specific requirements.

Two years ago the Department of Defense said they would start giving recruits US-made shoes if they met specific requirements.

New Balance CEO Rob DeMartini, praised New Balance for their domestic production in a statement, shining light on the company’s five New England-based factories that provide locals jobs.

“We are grateful that the U.S. House and Senate has again agreed that our military’s domestic purchasing requirements as stated by law need to be followed,” said DeMartini.

Maine’s law makers released a statement urging that they will continue to request that the Department of Defense complies with the “overdue provision.”