Last week, Ohioans and Americans across the country celebrated Independence Day, with parades and visits to monuments and memorials, where they proudly waved American flags.
But right now, the laws on the books for the types of flags purchased by the federal government don’t reflect the values that our veterans sacrificed so much for. Today, the flags the federal government purchases are only required to be made from just 50 percent American-made materials. That means that half of the materials that our women and men in uniform fight under can be made in China.
That’s why I introduced the bipartisan All-American Flag Act. This legislation would require the federal government to buy flags that are produced entirely with American-made materials and are manufactured in the U.S.
These efforts build on the work we did with former Senator Portman when we passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, which included the strongest ever Buy America rules. Those rules require all infrastructure projects be done using American iron and steel, produced by American workers.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Census Data, in 2015 the dollar value of U.S. imports of American flags was $4.4 million. Of that amount, $4 million of imported flags came from China. In 2017, the U.S. imported 10 million American flags. Of those, all but 50,000 came from China.
Whether you’re talking about flags or construction materials, American tax dollars should go toward American-made products that support American jobs, period. We need to produce the symbol of our country in a way that supports American workers and American manufacturers.
We can ensure that American-made flags will be waved and flown in all corners of the country. From the flags in the hands of new Americans at citizenship and naturalization ceremonies, to the flag at your local post office, to the flag flying over the U.S. Capitol Building, we should commit to making them in America.
Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) represents the state in the U.S. Senate.