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Manufacturing groups hail Kissell Amendment passage

Washington – An affiliation of U.S. textiles associations today hailed the passage of the Kissell Amendment, a provision in the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that mandates any textiles and apparel products contacted by the U.S. Department of Homeland security be manufactured in the United States with 100% U.S. components.

The amendment was offered by freshman Congressman Larry Kissell (D-NC), who spent nearly three decades working in the hosiery industry. It extends the provisions of the Berry Amendment, which since 1941 has required the Department of Defense certain products judged essential to military readiness that are 100% U.S. made from U.S. materials.

The new amendment applies to government procurement of textiles and uniforms for the Transportation Security Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard, departments that are now part of Homeland Security.

“It’s not going to be the same [impact] for every textile company in the United States, but every little bit helps,” said Martin Foyle, chairman and ceo of Tuscarora Yarns during a press conference held this afternoon.

Hardy Poole, government procurement specialist for the National Textile Association, said: “When you’re seeing the retail meltdown we’re seeing today, even a small contract can be the difference between a plant staying open or a plant going out.”

Contracting officers have the right to waive the buy-American requirement if the price being offered by U.S. companies is not competitive in the U.S. market – that includes prices being offered on the same goods by foreign companies.

Proponents of the Kissell Amendment assert the program will return over $43 to the U.S. economy for every $250 spent in the form of wages page, income taxes, producer profit and corporate income taxes.

“All the weak sisters in the textiles industry are long gone,” said Lloyd Wood, director of membership and media outreach for the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition.

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