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Fashion Applauds Defense Bill’s Key ‘Made in America’ Provision

The U.S. apparel and textile industry hailed congressional passage last week of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for its update to a key provision that boosts domestic manufacturing.

The NDAA bill rolls back the threshold for “Berry Amendment” compliance requirements and Defense Department acquisitions to $150,000 and adjusts future increases for inflation, which the U.S. textile industry has long supported. In the fiscal year 2018 NDAA bill, Congress raised the Simplified Acquisition Threshold (SAT) to $250,000, which put more than $50 million worth of Berry contracts annually at risk of being outsourced to China and other countries, according to the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO).

Resetting the contracting threshold back to $150,000 in the new NDAA bill ensures that tens of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars will be spent “here at home on quality goods manufactured by U.S. workers from U.S. materials,” NCTO said.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and NCTO both urged President Trump to quickly sign the bill into law before the end of the year.

“U.S. textile, apparel, and footwear manufacturers who proudly equip U.S. soldiers with uniforms rely on the Berry Amendment,” AAFA president and CEO Steve Lamar said. “Among other things, the NDAA makes important reforms to the Berry Amendment to close loopholes and support U.S. made textiles, apparel and other sewn products, and footwear. In doing so, the NDAA directly supports the employment of tens of thousands of Americans in manufacturing facilities throughout the United States.”

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Lamar noted that Section 817 of the NDAA ensures that more of the textiles purchased by the military will be produced in full compliance with the Berry Amendment–an integral protection that has supported Made in USA textiles, apparel and other sewn products, and footwear for decades.

“This is especially important to provide certainty to domestic manufacturers, many of whom have also pivoted their facilities to produce items of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

The provision also indexes the SAT level for inflation to be adjusted every five years and forbids contracts from being artificially divided so they can be solicited below the new threshold level.

“Berry ensures our warfighters and military personnel are wearing high-quality,100 percent Made-in-America textile and apparel products, including mission critical personal protective gear,” NCTO president and CEO Kim Glas said. “It also helps maintain America’s warm industrial base and safeguards our national security from unreliable foreign supply chains in China and other countries for essential military materials.”

Trump has threatened to veto the bill over its provision that protects social media from being liable for content created by its users. He has also expressed opposition to its call to rename 10 military installations that are named after Confederate leaders.

In a statement ahead of the House’s vote this week, the White House said the bill “fails to include critical national security measures” and “includes provisions that fail to respect our veterans and our military’s history.”

The House and Senate each passed the bill by what would be a veto-proof two-thirds majority, but it is not certain if the same number of lawmakers that voted to pass the bill would vote to overturn a Trump veto.