U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson's (CA-5) bipartisan provision requiring every American flag purchased by the Department of Defense (DOD) to be 100 percent manufactured in the United States, from articles, materials, or supplies that are 100 percent of grown, produced or manufactured in the United States, was passed by the House of Representatives earlier this week. Thompson's provision passed as part of H.R. 1960, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014.
"Every American flag the DOD buys should be made in America, by American workers with American products," said Thompson. "At a time when our manufacturing sector is struggling and millions in our country are out of work, it is a slap in the face to all Americans to have their tax dollars spent on U.S. flags that are made overseas."
Specifically, the provision applies the Berry Amendment to the American Flag. The Berry Amendment, originally passed in 1941, prohibits DOD funds from being used to acquire food, clothing, military uniforms, fabrics, stainless steel, and hand or measuring tools that are not grown or produced in the United States. Thompson's provision applies the same rules for the DOD's acquisition of American Flags, which previously, were not listed as a covered item.
Precedent already exists for such a provision. Currently, the Department of Veterans Affairs is required to only purchase U.S.-made American Flags for serivcemembers' funerals.
Thompson's provision was originally introduced in committee as an amendment to the NDAA by Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ-02). A similar Thompson provision was included in the draft Fiscal Year 2014 DOD Appropriations Act, which is scheduled to be considered by the full House of Representatives in the coming weeks.
"It is unbelievable and unacceptable that our men and women who wear the uniform in defense of our nation have fought under a flag that could be manufactured outside of the United States," said LoBiondo. "I appreciate Representative Thompson for his joint leadership in correcting this injustice and ensuring the honor of military service is reinforced by the pride of an American-made U.S. flag."
The legislation will now go to the Senate for approval.
Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California's 5th Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties. He is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Rep. Thompson is also a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and chairs the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus.