Sen. Brown Follows Olympic Push With “Wear American Act”

The U.S. Olympic team showed up at last week's opening ceremonies in Sochi wearing the American-made uniforms seen above. That’s in large part because of a scolding from Congress two years ago, led by Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown.(Photo: Flickr)
The U.S. Olympic team showed up at last week's opening ceremonies in Sochi wearing the American-made uniforms seen above. That’s in large part because of a scolding from Congress two years ago, led by Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown.(Photo: Flickr)

The U.S. Olympic team showed up at Friday’s opening ceremonies in Sochi wearing American-made uniforms. That’s in large part because of a scolding from Congress two years ago, led by Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Now Sen. Brown wants to take his campaign further.

The U.S. athletes showed up for the summer games in Beijing wearing Chinese-made red, white and blue uniforms. Brown called that an embarrassment, the Olympic committee was called on the congressional carpet, and this year’s uniforms are American-made.

Brown says he wants to go beyond that symbolism, the reason he introduced the Wear American Act last week. It would require that, with the exception of special circumstances, textiles and garments bought by federal agencies be 100 percent American made.

The Democratic senator estimates the government spends $1.5 billion a year on foreign-made garments and textiles.

“It’s bad enough it’s not made by American workers. It’s five times worse that it’s made by workers who often are children and not treated well. That’s shameful, and that’s the first thing we fix.”

Brown acknowledges the U.S. may not have the manufacturing capacity now, but says it would ratchet up if the demand were there. His point was underscored by Tommy Armour of Akron, whose American Made Bags makes carryng bags for the IRS, National Guard and even ones with Michelle Obama’s signature.

He says he pays his 41 workers from $10 to $19 an hour.

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