Congressman Kissell’s “buy American” provision enacted

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

CHARLOTTE (AP) ó The $787 billion stimulus package includes a “buy American” law sponsored by North Carolina Rep. Larry Kissell that was designed to help the textile industry.
It’s unclear how many jobs will be created in the United States because of the provision, which is the first Kissell measure to become law since he joined Congress last month.
“Obviously I’m in favor of anything that keeps the textile business alive,” said Martin Foil, chairman of Tuscarora Yarns, which is based in Mount Pleasant and has other facilities in Oakboro and China Grove.
He said he was glad to see the government wasn’t going “overseas with tax dollars, which really ticks me off.”
Foil participated in a conference call Tuesday with several other textile manufacturers who praised the Kissell provision.
Bret Kelley, director of sales and marketing for Highland Industries in Greensboro, said that the Kissell amendment has provisions that could allow him to hire workers. In recent years, the company has laid off 20 percent of its workers, he said.
The law expands a rule that military uniforms be made and assembled in the United States to include textiles worn and used by Transportation Security Administration officers who monitor airports and other transportation systems.
The fabric for TSA’s uniforms is made in the United States, but the pants and shirts are assembled in Honduras and Mexico.
The Kissell rule applies to all textile products such as body armor, holsters and conveyor belts, not just clothing, said Lloyd Wood, a spokesman for the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition.
About 50,000 TSA workers are given $150 a year to replace uniform pieces, said agency spokesman Christopher White.