On June 23rd, SPESA joined with an industry coalition in sending a letter (below) to Tim Manning, National Covid-19 Supply Coordinator for The White House, urging the Biden Administration to continue buying Berry Amendment-compliant personal protective equipment (PPE). The Berry Amendment is a federal regulation that requires Department of Defense funds to be spent on items manufactured in the United States.
The coalition continues to push for both executive and legislative efforts to support the U.S. PPE industry, including through the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act. Read more about this legislation in last month’s Trade & Policy Round-Up.
Dear Mr. Manning:
We, the undersigned, appreciate your continued leadership and share and strongly support the administration's goal of expanding domestic PPE manufacturing. We especially appreciated all your and the team's support for substantial domestic procurement legislation that is included in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act. We are writing with a timely request regarding the administration's purchasing of PPE moving ahead.
We have previously outlined for the administration and Congress a list of comprehensive policy recommendations to reestablish a permanent PPE industry in the United States. Chief among them is the application of the Berry Amendment to government PPE contracts, and we are writing today to stress the critical importance of the administration using its discretion to purchase Berry Amendment-compliant PPE in any future purchases that may be under consideration as we work to advance permanent procurement reforms through Congress. Specifically, as the administration looks to replenish the Strategic National Stockpile and help assist in international efforts to contain the virus by deploying PPE assets abroad, we believe this is a significant opportunity to continue to support and showcase our incredible domestic industry and its capabilities by buying wholly American-made PPE.
We are proud that the U.S. manufacturing industry has produced over a billion lifesaving PPE and other medical products over the last year as our members retooled production chains in response to the nation's needs. We commend the Biden administration for the contracts awarded in March of this year for up to 22.2 million Berry-compliant masks. Production of these100% U.S.-made masks has involved an extensive supply chain comprising 25 domestic companies and 5,000 American workers, and we must continue to build on this success and reshoring momentum by continuing to award future contracts using a similar process. Fully maximizing purchasing of Berry-compliant products moving forward is critical to sustaining and furthering the incredible progress made to date and should be considered as part of the administration's onshoring and industrial expansion efforts. Using the provisions of the Buy American Act alone is not sufficient to address U.S. national security needs. Our national security needs must foster investment in the capital-intensive raw material production processes upstream and downstream production in the supply chain. These upstream production processes are not only essential from an overall domestic capacity standpoint, but they are also the implementation point for a range of advanced technologies such as anti viral, anti-bacterial, and other functional fiber, yarns, fabrics, and finishes. Any further procurements that can be made utilizing Berry-type purchasing rules will have profound and exponential benefits both for manufacturers and workers and the quality performance associated with any PPE. From a policy perspective, there has also been significant advancement made in Congress with the inclusion of the Make PPE in America Act from Senators Rob Portman and Gary Peters in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act passed by the Senate on June 8. Again, we greatly appreciate your support for this initiative. In closing, it is our strong recommendation that the government purchase wholly domestic PPE from proven U.S. manufacturers in order for the best outcome for U.S. procurement dollars to be realized in terms of both the safety of those depending on effective PPE and the viability of our domestic PPE manufacturing base moving forward. We also support Best Value contracting that takes into account awarding contracts to suppliers with the financial capabilities and competencies to perform — not just the lowest price. Thank you for your consideration of our views, and we remain committed to partnering with administration to end the United States' dangerous dependence of offshore production of medical-related PPE and equipment.
AFL-CIO Alliance for American Manufacturing, AAM
Coalition for a Prosperous America, CPA
Georgia Association of Manufacturers, GAM Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, INDA
National Council of Textile Organizations, NCTO
National Cotton Council, NCC
Parachute Industry Association, PIA
The Association & Voice of the U.S. Sewn Products Industry, SEAMS
Service Employees International Union, SEIU
South Carolina Textile Council, SCMA
The Sewn Products Equipment & Suppliers of the Americas, SPESA
United Steelworkers, USW
United States Footwear Manufacturers Association, USFMA
U.S. Industrial Fabrics Institute - Industrial Fabrics Association, USIFI/NFI
Warrior Protection & Readiness Coalition, WPRC