Today, Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) introduced a bipartisan bill, H.R. 6132, to require the United States Olympic Committee to "Buy American" to ensure that the uniforms and equipment it supplies to American athletes are made by American workers whenever possible. As a federally chartered nonprofit corporation, the USOC must report every four years to Congress on its operations, receipts, and expenditures. The legislation will also require the Committee to include in its report data on where the goods it provides for athletes come from and a description of the steps it has taken to ensure they are made in the United States.
"When I heard that our Olympic athletes would be wearing uniforms that were made in China for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, I was outraged," Rep. Lipinski said. "The Olympics is a showcase for the best that a country has to offer to the world. But during the most watched events of the Games our athletes will be showcasing Chinese-made uniforms instead of uniforms made by American workers. What was the U.S. Olympic Committee thinking? They certainly didn't have American workers in mind. As a federally chartered nonprofit corporation and the organization officially charged with promoting the success of America's Olympians, the Committee should take special pride in buying American. While our athletes are striving to bring home the gold for their country, the last thing the USOC should be doing is contributing to the offshoring of American jobs."
Rep. Lipinski and Rep. Jones also joined together to introduce a sense-of-the-House resolution, H. Res. 731, urging the USOC to "strive to ensure that all of the clothing and equipment purchased for United States Olympic athletes is made in America."
Rep. Lipinski has repeatedly worked to bolster the U.S. manufacturing sector and strengthen existing Buy American laws so that taxpayer dollars help create and sustain American jobs. He is the author of the Buy American Improvement Act, H.R. 2722, which would eliminate loopholes that result in the federal government purchasing numerous products made in foreign countries even though they could be purchased from domestic suppliers. He is also the author of the bipartisan American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act, H.R. 5865, which would require the development of a national strategy for revitalizing the American manufacturing sector to create good jobs.
"At every Olympic Games, we celebrate the extraordinary accomplishments of our athletes and express our pride in our nation," Rep. Lipinski added. "For the USOC to use products made overseas when it could be obtaining them from American manufacturers is an affront to American workers, especially at a time of high unemployment."