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In a deal reached with members of Congress, the U.S. Department of Defense agreed to enforce more strictly a Buy American policy with respect to the purchase of athletic footwear by military recruits.
At issue is enforcement of the Berry Amendment, which has been in force since the 1940s. It generally provides that funds appropriated by the Department of Defence (DOD) may not be used to purchase certain goods not manufactured or grown in the United States. DOD had long waived this requirement, however, with respect to a program by which new military recruits are provided with an allowance for the purchase of athletic footwear to be worn in basic training, taking the position that higher quality footwear was available from imported than from domestic production. This position was challenged by members of the Maine congressional delegation, who succeeded in securing a concession from DOD.
In an April 25, 2014, letter to each member of the Maine delegation, Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Christine Fox pledged that DOD would enforce the Berry Amendment for athletic footwear as soon as a sufficient supply of athletic shoes made entirely in the United States existed. 'As Berry Amendment-compliant shoes come on the market, we will assess them for cost and durability to ensure they are comparable to other models available to recruits,' the letter stated. 'If one or more comparable Berry Amendment-compliant shoe models correspond to a shoe type category, only these shoes will be made available for purchase using the one-time cash allowance.
Note however that as of early 2016 Senator Susan Collins (Republican of Maine) was complaining that the DOD had not yet begun purchasing American-made shoes (see http://www.centralmaine.com/2016/04/27/collins-chides-secretary-of-defen...).
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