NDAA Conference Report Includes Berry Amendment Protections
December 2, 2016

A U.S. House and Senate conference report released earlier this week for the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act included protections for the Berry Amendment - 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 including textiles, clothing, hand/measuring tools and food.

The National Council of Textile Organizations - which includes the American Sheep Industry Association - worked closely with allies in Congress on several issues throughout the process. The act specifically exempts the Berry Amendment from changes to the procurement of commercial items, and ends an athletic footwear voucher program in an effort to ensure that all DOD purchased footwear is Berry compliant.

The act also directs DOD and the State Department to jointly brief key congressional defense and foreign relations committees on efforts to make U.S. manufacturers aware of procurement opportunities related to equipping foreign security forces approved to purchase or receive equipment from United States manufacturers, and determines that Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) or reverse auctions are not appropriate contracting methods for the procurement of personal protective equipment where the level of quality needed or the failure of the item could result in combat casualties.

The House plans to vote on the act as early as today, while the Senate is expected to follow suite next week.

"We're thankful to our partners at NCTO for working to assure the strength of the Berry Amendment, which has a huge impact on the state of the American wool industry," said ASI Executive Director Peter Orwick. "However, we're disappointed that the accompanying riders on sage grouse were stripped from the bill."

Proposed language would have prevented sage grouse from being listed as an endangered species and blocked implementation of the sage grouse resource management plan. House Republicans have stated in the past that an ESA listing for the bird might prevent the U.S. military from training in certain western areas. This is the second consecutive year in which sage grouse language was stripped from the act.