Berry Amendment Simplified Acquisition Preserved in House Defense Bill

April 29, 2016

Trade associations, including the American Sheep Industry Association, this week contacted members of the House Armed Services Committee to ask for support in striking language from the National Defense Authorization Act that would weaken domestic preferences with respect to military procurement. Following more than 16 hours of debate on Wednesday, April 27, the committee voted 60-2 to approve its version of the defense bill - a version that struck the amendment that would have raised the threshold on Berry Amendment limitations from $1,000 to $5,000.

Reps. Walter Jones (N.C.), Duncan Hunter (Calif.) and Niki Tsongas (Mass.) filed an amendment to preserve the Berry Amendment and successfully struck Section 807 from fiscal year 2017 NDAA.

"Section 807 would harm the U.S. textile, apparel and footwear industries and its 592,000 workers by weakening the Berry Amendment, making roughly one dollar in every five exempt from domestic purchase. Increasing the SAP would open up as many as 92 percent of the military contracts to imports and, if the threshold would have been $500,000 in fiscal year 2014, 6,813 contracts totaling more than $337 million would have been exempt from the U.S. sourcing requirement," the letter to the committee stated.

The defense bill is scheduled to be considered by the Senate Armed Services Committee the week of May 9. The National Council of Textile Organizations is closely monitoring its progress in the Senate, and actively working to prevent a similar attempt in that chamber to weaken the Berry Amendment.

The Berry Amendment is a domestic sourcing preference law stating that if Department of Defense funds are used, only U.S.-made items can be purchased with respect to certain product categories - i.e. textiles, clothing, hand and measuring tools and food.