Amendment to Close Berry Amendment Loophole Advances
May 20, 2016

Groups supporting Made In America fought another effort this week that would have weakened the Berry Amendment.

The House and Senate Armed Services Committee's versions of the National Defense Authorization Act each contained a provision (Section 808) that would close a loophole created by the Department of Defense to skirt the Berry Amendment with respect to athletic footwear. Although athletic shoes are part of the uniform that recruits are required to wear, most of the branches avoid the Berry Amendment by issuing a "voucher" to the recruits and asking them to buy sneakers from the exchanges instead.

In a letter to the leadership of the Rules Committee, the American Sheep Industry Association joined 17 other organizations representing a strong spectrum of associations, organized labor and a variety of different sections asking for support to oppose an amendment by Rep. Mark Sanford (S.C.) that would have struck Section 808 from the bills.

"We have long disagreed with the policy that has allowed athletic footwear for certain services to be furnished to U.S. troops outside the Berry Amendment. Singling out certain types of footwear for procurement outside the Berry Amendment creates a damaging precedent that undermines these important protections altogether," the groups wrote.

Legislative action this week maintained Section 808 in both the House and Senate versions of the NDAA, strengthening the Berry Amendment and supporting Made In America.