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Public Statements

Wear American Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington DC

Mr. BROWN of Ohio. Mr. President, in cities and towns across the Nation, workers have the proud tradition of manufacturing products that are made here at home.

Manufacturing helped us become an economic superpower and build a strong, vibrant middle class.

Ohio manufacturers and workers are some of the most industrious, innovative, and competitive in the Nation.

Our companies and the hard-working people who fill our factories can compete with anyone in the world.

But this competition is getting tougher as our Nation is facing ongoing and unfair competition from countries like China.

It does not help when U.S. companies and organizations either outsource jobs, production, and purchases overseas.

As has been reported in the news recently, the U.S. Olympic Committee's use of Chinese-made apparel was a missed opportunity to use domestic apparel manufacturers.

The public outrage about this decision created was predictable.

It is unconscionable that the U.S. Olympic Committee would hand over the production of uniforms worn by our proud athletes to a county that flouts international trade laws, manipulates its currency, and cheats on trade.

It makes no sense that an American organization would place a Chinese-made beret on the heads of our finest athletes when we have the capacity to make high-end apparel here.

I am encouraged that, after speaking with the chief executive and chair of the U.S. Olympic Committee, uniforms designed by Ralph Lauren for the 2014 Olympic Games will be made in the United States.

I also applaud USOC's decision to further ensure, as a matter of policy, that they are going to make Buying American a priority.

But this incident reminds us of the consequences of passing a trade deal without real accountability and enforcement.

Congress passed a trade deal with China more than 10 years ago, which has contributed to the loss of more than 5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2010.

While some lawmakers and economists have written off our manufacturing sector including textile and apparel production they need to think again.

According to the National Council of Textile Organizations, the United States is the third largest exporter of textile products in the world.

The textile sector put more than 500,000 people to work at plants in large cities and mills in rural towns.

Do some lawmakers and economists really think we should turn our backs these working Americans?

No. It is not right that U.S. workers get overlooked when it comes to showcasing that American apparel workers in Ohio towns like Brooklyn and Aracanum can make things.

We've seen this time and time again: whether it is Olympic uniforms or U.S. flags, products all too often are not made here.

We can and we must stop this disturbing trend.

That is why I am introducing the Wear American Act to make certain that the Federal Government purchases apparel that is 100 percent American-made.

That means all textiles and apparel purchased with U.S. tax dollars will be invested in U.S. businesses and communities not China.

The textile industry has been a staple of our Nation's economy since its founding and it will be important in the future.

The United States is the world leader in textile research and development.

American companies and universities are developing new textile materials such as conductive fabric with antistatic properties and high-tech textiles that monitor movement and heart rates.

When consumers in the United States and around the world demand our products, we deliver.

The United States textile industry is the third leading exporter of products worldwide. In fact, recently total textile and apparel exports reached a record $22.4 billion.

This legislation makes sense plain and clear. Why shouldn't our national policies support American companies and workers?

We should be in the business of creating policies that reward hard working Americans who work hard every day rather than supporting a Tax Code and trade policies that help big companies send U.S. jobs overseas.

Right now, the stakes couldn't be higher.

That is why the Wear American Act and supporting American workers is so important.

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