Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) announced with his colleagues that the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) formally adopted all of the measures outlined in the Team USA Made in America Act (S. 3387), legislation Blumenthal helped introduce in the U.S. Senate just one week ago. The legislation requires that ceremonial uniforms for U.S. Olympians be manufactured in the United States. Blumenthal introduced S. 3387 with 11 of his Senate colleagues, including U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) who was the bill's lead sponsor, in response to reports that U.S. athletes competing in the London Games would be wearing uniforms made in China during the Opening Ceremony this week.
"This agreement is a major milestone -- but only a step forward in a continuing quest to provide American-made apparel and equipment to American athletes on the world stage and, more broadly, to bring jobs and manufacturing back to America," said Senator Blumenthal. "Use of American-made apparel by Olympians is critically important both symbolically and practically. I again urge the U.S. Olympic Committee to convene a sourcing summit for American equipment and apparel manufacturers to showcase their products and seek contracts."
"We were pleased to work with Senator Menendez and his colleagues in Congress to address their concerns regarding Team USA's parade uniforms," said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. "After listening to feedback from members of Congress, we have committed, along with our partners at Ralph Lauren, to make future parade uniforms in the United States."
"I'm incredibly pleased that the USOC has formally adopted the requirements outlined in the Team USA Made in America Act," said Senator Menendez. "My goal was to ensure that while our Olympians and Paralympians are representing the best of American athleticism and sportsmanship, they also proudly represent the best of American manufacturing and workmanship. This new policy -- which will not be altered without informing the Congress -- is a clear win for both America's athletes and America's workers."
"I applaud the U.S. Olympic Committee on its decision to manufacture all future American olympic uniforms in the United States," said Senator Lautenberg. "Just as we support our athletes at the games, we must continue to support American businesses."
"I'm pleased that the U.S. Olympic Committee has adopted the provisions in our bill that would require all U.S. Olympic uniforms be made in America," said Senator Casey. "American-made Olympic uniforms will create jobs and promote the great skill of our country's manufacturers and workers. From now on, when one of our Olympians crosses the finish line for gold their uniforms will be stamped with four words: "Made In the USA.'"
"I'm pleased to hear that the U.S. Olympic Committee has stepped up to the plate and agreed that, starting in 2014, all Olympic uniforms will be made in America --- our athletes deserve nothing less," said Senator Schumer. "I'm glad that in future games our athletes will truly be wearing the red, white and blue."
"When America's best athletes are representing our country on the world stage, they should be representing the best of American-made goods," said Senator Gillibrand. "The pride of our Olympic athletics goes hand in hand with the pride of American innovation and manufacturing. While I am greatly disappointed our athletes will not be dressed head to toe in Made in the USA this year, I thank the USOC for hearing our voices and making this policy change going forward. I look forward to cheering on Team USA when the Olympic games begin in London."
"For too long, we've seen American manufacturing jobs shipped overseas due to unfair trade deals like China PNTR that stacked the deck against American workers," said Senator Brown. "The USOC's decision to adopt Made-in-America policies for future Olympic games is an important step towards supporting apparel manufacturers. I look forward to working with my colleagues to organize a domestic sourcing summit to bring the USOC and Ralph Lauren together with American apparel makers to make uniforms for the 2014 Olympic Games."
"This is great news and I'm glad the U.S. Olympic Committee is making changes that put American workers and manufacturers first," said Senator Rockefeller. "When so many American workers have seen their jobs shipped overseas, it's absolutely essential that we do our part and give them every opportunity to find good jobs here. Our Olympians represent some of the best athletes in the world, and providing them with uniforms made in the U.S. is also something we can all be proud of."
The announcement comes after Blumenthal and his colleagues wrote a letter to the CEO of the USOC, Scott Blackmun, which expressed their request that uniforms made for the 2014 Olympic Games be manufactured in the United States. This letter was one in a series of steps Blumenthal has taken to support American manufacturing.
The new USOC policy states:
- The USOC policy for all future agreements with respect to uniforms to be worn by athletes during parade ceremonies that are part of the Olympic, Paralympic, and Pan-American Games:
- All uniforms provided by sponsors, partners, licensees, or suppliers for parade ceremonies shall be "Made in the USA" as defined by the standards of the Federal Trade Commission, with the following exceptions allowing for a deviation from the policy:
Obtaining such parade ceremony uniforms would be in violation of U.S. law or would not comply with any applicable trade agreements or treaties to which the United States is a party;
Essential materials or parts needed to produce parade ceremony uniforms are not available in the United States;
Obtaining such parade ceremony uniforms would cause undue delay or create material financial detriment to the USOC;
It would violate IOC, Local Organizing Committee or host country laws, rules or regulations to adhere to the policy for the particular event.
- If the USOC cannot obtain parade ceremony uniforms in conformance with this policy, it shall make publicly available information explaining the reasons why it cannot do so.
- As a part of its Quadrennial Report to Congress, the USOC shall include an assessment of its performance under the policy, providing justifications on any instances where it has had to diverge from the policy, as well as any changes it has made to the policy.
The USOC also committed to not changing the policy without first consulting with Congress, including the relevant Committees of Jurisdiction in the Senate and the House.