Defense bill moves ahead without Mike Michaud’s buy-American provision

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud expressed disappointment Friday with a decision by the House of Representatives to move ahead with a defense authorization bill that does not contain a provision that would force the Department of Defense to purchase footwear from U.S. manufacturers.

Michaud has made requiring the military to buy American-made footwear one of his signature issues during the last several years. The reason is hundreds of Maine jobs are at stake.

Boston-based New Balance, which employs hundreds of Mainers at facilities in Norway, Norridgewock and Skowhegan, is the only athletic footwear manufacturer that still produces some of its shoes — about 25 percent — in the United States. So, if U.S. military branches are required to procure footwear for fighting men and women from a domestic manufacturer, it could mean a big bump in business for New Balance.

The help couldn’t come at a better time. The 100-year-old company is threatened by a free trade deal President Barack Obama’s administration is negotiating with Vietnam and other Pacific countries that are home to many low-cost shoe manufacturers.

What disappointed Michaud on Friday is that the House of Representatives passed the conference report for the annual defense authorization bill, which sets annual Department of Defense policy and funding levels, without including the protections that would benefit New Balance, according to a news release from Michaud’s office.

The conference report discarded an amendment, which Michaud successfully attached in June to the House-passed version of the bill, that would require the military to abide by what’s known as the Berry Amendment, which has been on the books since World War II. It mandates that the military purchase certain equipment and clothing from U.S. manufacturers.

The military gets around it by providing cash allowances to soldiers to buy shoes.

“The language included in the conference report is weak and will not ensure that DOD buys American-made shoes for our service members,” Michaud said in a statement. “I am disappointed that the final bill did not require compliance with the Berry Amendment, but I will continue to fight to make sure all of our service members train in 100 percent American-made uniforms.”

Michaud, serving his sixth term representing Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, is the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. He is the likely Democratic candidate in Maine’s 2014 gubernatorial election.

Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Rep. Mike Michaud holds up a pair of New Balance sneakers that he was proud to say were made here in Maine and that he would be wearing during his campaigning during his official announcement of his intention to run for governor of Maine at the Franco-American Heritage Center in Lewiston Thursday at noon.

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FRANK EARLEY's picture

Use caution determining...........

Use caution determining Where something is made. One of my first truck driving jobs, was in the shoe industry. When this "moving over seas" craze started in the early eighties. My company started closing all their domestic plants except one. They opened a big plant in Haiti. Then they would ship all the materials to Haiti and have the uppers and the soles produced for pennies per hour. The unfinished uppers and soles, shipped via container ship, would then arrive back in Boston. The Uppers and the soles were put together at the one remaining plant in Boston, thus allowing them to advertise the shoes as made in the USA. That was about the time I quit, and moved to Maine.
This is just a heads up, to what some of these big corporate types are willing to do to scam the consumers....................

Steve  Dosh's picture

Defense bill moves ahead without Mike Michaud’s buy-American ..

Mainers, Saturday the 14th 11:45 am-ish ? Hawai'i time
. . I t's difficult to discern - where - n e thing is made these days in this interconnected world , e.g., look at the door - jamb of your car ( the driver's side )
hth , Dr. Dosh *<;-Q~

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

All my Chevys

have said, Detroit or Wisconsin or St Paul...

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Still have my New Balance

Made in USA....everyone should try to buy from mom and pop shops and companies that provide Made in USA products to benefit those here at home.

I shop frequently at and also LL Bean has a selection off their site at

That is an honorable attempt on his part or anyones elses to promote American made items to start bringing the jobs back home, in which in many areas it has reversed and that is great for AMericans making them.

Be Proud and take the time to look and shop right and responsible for your families families futures.

Much of Bean's Home Shop gear

Much of Bean's Home Shop gear is Maine made, and of course the Bean Boots are still made in the Brunswick facility, as are the Boat 'n' Totes and the fillers for the dog beds (covers are from NC). And of course their Christmas wreaths (the balsam ones) are from Worcester and Whitney.

Unfortunately, USA made is not always best made, and in my experience (even going back to the 70s and 80s), the larger the MADE IN USA on the box, the more slipshod the workmanship.

JOANNE MOORE's picture

New Balance

I love my New Balance. Worn them for years. And I just got the most comfortable deerskin slippers made in the USA.


JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

My rubber seam

sole feel apart but a little PL 200 and they are still running strong from 15 years ago.

I just bought some Dr Schoals slippers with gel inserts and made in US this is my third pair, keep one set for the yard....

AL PELLETIER's picture

Sorry Mike

We know you fought long and hard for this bill to pass with your provision included. You can't win them all but, as a veteran, I want to thank you for all you've done for us.
Your next mission: STRAIGHTEN OUT AUGUSTA.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Mike is getting it soon from the crooked cronyism of LePage

With the $952 K he handed over to the Alexander crook, LePages butt will be cooked..quite the present for Mike from Pauly. LePage will be packing his carpet bagging families belongings and moving back to Florida real soon....all he wanted was his pension and benefits package from Mainers...not enough he lived off the state for years and off others and still continues to, to this day. Now that is the perfect picture of a leech...

Your next mission: STRAIGHTEN


Thats what the GOP and Lepage is trying to do!

Shame they have no idea how

Shame they have no idea how to do it.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

The largest shame

are those that voted for the lying pos LePage. He is an opportunist to feather his bed and take all of those monies in his coffers back to Florida to spread the wealth back there.

He doesn't give a horses pa-tut about Maine or the people, only what's in for Paul!

JOANNE MOORE's picture


Thanks for the comedy relief.


Ha, ha, ha. LOL

The next thing you'll be trying to tell us is the Santa story. Well all be dead and gone and Augusta will be the same as it always has--going nowhere fast.


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