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Congress Greenlights Provision on U.S.-Made Military Footwear

The Senate recently passed a national defence appropriations bill (S. 2943) with a provision that would require the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps to provide U.S.-made athletic footwear directly to recruits upon their entry into the Armed Forces instead of providing a cash allowance for the purchase of such footwear at the choice of the recruit. The House of Representative had previously approved its own version of the appropriations legislation (H.R. 4909) with a similar provision.

The Obama administration opposes the footwear provision because it runs counter to research that indicates a strong correlation between the variety of athletic shoes available, fit and comfort, and reduced injury rates. A 7 June statement of administration policy indicates that “because only one company is currently producing a shoe that arguably meets the standards established in the section, this provision appears to provide a preferential arrangement for a particular company.” On the other hand, a number of U.S. textile, apparel and footwear associations and labour groups favour the footwear provision because they believe footwear is a product that “falls fully within the Berry Amendment procurement requirements.”

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