President Obama gets pair of personalized New Balance running shoes

Democrat Mike Michaud urges military to outfit troops in USA-made gear

Rep. Mike Michaud (Dem - ME-02)

Democratic Congressman Mike Michaud from Maine has introduced legislation requiring the U.S. military to outfit our troops in gear that is 100% USA-made. To bring attention to his effort, he had New Balance, a footwear manufacturer in his district and one of the last remaining domestic shoe companies, manufacture a pair of specialized running shoes for President Obama. He picked up the size 12D (!) shoes from New Balance’s facility in Norridgewock,  Maine on Friday and, that night, he presented them to the President at a fundraiser.

In a press release, Rep. Michaud said, “Politicians love to talk about what they’re doing to create jobs. But this is one concrete change that could be made right now to create jobs here in Maine. I look forward to seeing the President tomorrow to urge him to make the Defense Department comply with current law and provide American-made footwear to our servicemembers. Taking this action would be consistent with the President’s stated goals of boosting the U.S. manufacturing sector.

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Michaud’s legislation, the “American Shoes for American Servicemembers Act,” would, according to Michaud, “clarify that the Berry Amendment has always and continues to apply to footwear. The Berry Amendment law has been on the books for decades and requires the Department of Defense (DOD) to buy certain categories of products from American companies.” According to Michaud, the military has been cheating to get around the requirements of the Berry Amendment.

From the MassLive article:

“The Department of Defense is circumventing the Berry Amendment that requires the military to be attired head to toe in American-made clothing,” Michaud said Friday, adding that U.S.-made sneakers would be consistent with Obama’s goal of bolstering domestic manufacturing. […]

The Department of Defense circumvents the Berry Amendment by giving new recruits allowances so they can buy their own shoes for athletic training, Michaud said. The shoes used for physical training should be put out to bid just like military boots, he said.

Michaud is appealing directly to President Obama because has the authority to order the Department of Defense to comply with the law.

[Images courtesy of Rep. Mike Michaud | Flickr]

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