After outrage on Capitol Hill yesterday when an ABC World News report revealed that the U.S. Olympic team’s opening ceremony outfits are made in China, members of Congress are trying to put some laws on the books to make sure this never happens again.
In the Senate next week a group of six Democratic senators will introduce legislation that would require the U.S. Olympic Committee to outfit the U.S. Olympic team in clothes made in America for all future Olympic games.
Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) today announced they will introduce the “Team USA Made In America Act of 2012″ next week in Congress.
The legislation would require the USOC to “adopt a procurement policy that requires ceremonial uniforms the USOC purchases or commissions be sewn or assembled in the United States.”
Team USA will be marching into the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony wearing Ralph Lauren blazers and berets, much as they did four years ago when Lauren dressed them. ABC’s Sharyn Alfonsi reported Wednesday evening that every clothing item they’ll be wearing at the opening ceremony in London will carry an overseas label.
Some on Capitol Hill responded Thursday to the report with outrage, some even suggesting making a bonfire with the outfits.
“I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said when asked by ABC News Thursday. “If they have to wear nothing but a singlet that says USA on it, painted by hand, that is what they should wear.”
The new legislation’s intention is to secure this policy for future Olympic Games, but the senators are still calling for the U.S. Olympic Committee to change this year’s outfits out of principle.
“I call on the USOC to do the right thing for this summer’s team,” Sen. Menendez said in a statement today. “I call on my colleagues to help pass this bill to ensure we don’t find ourselves in this appalling, embarrassing situation before the opening of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.”
The bill would amend the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act to require the adoption of a policy that requires the uniforms to be “sewn or assembled in the United States with fabrics formed and cut in the United States or components knit to shape from yarns wholly formed in the United States. ”
If the USOC can’t meet the procurement requirement under the new legislation, they would have to provide a detailed justification for sourcing from overseas, the legislation will say.
“The pride of our Olympic athletics goes hand in hand with the pride of American innovation and manufacturing,” Senator Gillibrand said. “We shouldn’t be going to the world stage with anything less. From head to toe, Team USA must be made in America.”