The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Berry Amendment Extension Act (H.R. 3116), which would bring the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the purview of the Berry Amendment and its requirement that covered products, including textiles and apparel, contain 100 percent U.S. inputs. The bill now must be taken up and passed by the Senate in order to become law.
The Berry Amendment dates back to 1941 and requires that the Department of Defense purchase certain products -- such as garments and other textiles, specialty steel and food -- that are deemed essential to military preparedness from domestic sources.
The Berry Amendment Extension Act would apply only to the Transportation Security Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard. Because the U.S. government is bound by the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA), which bars provisions such as the Berry Amendment unless the United States exercises an option to exempt agencies that it deems critical to national security, as it has done in the case of these two agencies. However, the act would provide the option for the Obama administration to exempt other DHS agencies from the GPA as well. Included among those other agencies are Customs and Border Protection, the Secret Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Immigration and Citizenship Enforcement.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Larry Kissell (N.C.) and co-sponsored by Rep. Howard Coble (N.C.) and 68 other congressmen.
Reprinted in part from Textile World Magazine