ALL-AMERICAN FLAG ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 157, No. 114
(Senate - July 27, 2011)

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[Pages S4968-S4970]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                         ALL-AMERICAN FLAG ACT

  Mr. BROWN of Ohio. Mr. President, I rise to discuss legislation 
called the All-American Flag Act of 2011 and make some comments about 
what has happened to American manufacturing and how this is a small 
step but an important step in beginning to convince this body that 
``Made in America'' is something we should focus on, that a 
manufacturing strategy from the White House is something they should 
focus on, and that putting people back to work to make things in 
America again is the right strategy to pull us out of a recession.
  The Labor Department's most recent jobs report confirmed what workers 
in my State are already aware of--that employers are still not hiring. 
Workers who have jobs are seeing smaller paychecks, and they are barely 
keeping up with bills and insurance costs.
  In too many cases, soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are 
facing even greater challenges in the labor market. I was at Youngstown 
State University recently talking about the specific programs there. In 
Cleveland, through MAGNET--a group called MAGNET in Youngstown and in 
northeast Ohio is helping soldiers and sailors

[[Page S4969]]

and marines leaving the service, integrating into the classroom, and 
helping them find jobs in that region--someplace we have fallen 
woefully short.
  Manufacturing, which was moving along steadily earlier this year--we 
had seen 12, 13, 14, 15 months of job growth in manufacturing, not 
enough job growth but some--that is even slowing down. Steps that were 
taken through the auto rescue and other things we did in the last 
couple of years dealing with this terrible recession created in 2007 
and 2008--the auto rescue and other efforts saved millions of Americans 
from joining the unemployment rolls. We are seeing a better auto 
industry, an auto industry coming back, especially in places such as 
Defiance and Toledo and Northwood and Cleveland and Lawrenceville, OH. 
But the challenges remain severe.
  Like many in this Chamber, I believe manufacturing is the key not 
only to our economic recovery but to the strength and vitality of our 
Nation. To many, manufacturing is also a ticket to the American middle 
  In the last 12 years, we have witnessed the closure of more than 
54,000 factories in the United States. Last year, we lost 8,000. That 
is 5,400 factories per year, 15 per day in the last 12 years. The 
manufacturing sector, since the beginning of the Bush administration, 
2001, has lost 5 million jobs. Only 11.5 million people are employed in 
manufacturing jobs now. The last time it was that low was in 1941, 
before the country scaled up for production for World War II.
  When Members of this body talk about the need to support 
manufacturing, others will say that is ``picking winners and losers'' 
and that ``the government has no role in helping manufacturing.'' First 
of all, that makes no sense, but second, I have heard all those before. 
I think the government already has picked winners and made choices. 
Manufacturing in the early 1980s exceeded 25 percent of our GDP. Now it 
is only 11 percent of our GDP. Over that same time period--financial 
services back 30 years ago was about 11 percent of our GDP, and now 
they are about 21 percent. So a government that put way too much focus 
on and interest in and support for financial services at the expense of 
manufacturing has clearly cost us far too many middle-class jobs.
  It is a result of tax policy; it is a result of not investing in 
innovation; it is a result of the China PNTR, the permanent normal 
trade relations; it is a result of NAFTA; and it is a result of not 
enforcing our trade laws. There is blame to go around, but the blame 
will not create a job that a former autoworker in Youngstown or a 
rubber worker in Akron or a chemical worker in Columbus or a 
steelworker outside Cincinnati--that will not create a job they are 
looking for, nor reduce the rising cost for them of food and gas and 
  I urge my colleagues to consider taking big steps, not just slight 
changes at the margin, in rebuilding our manufacturing base and 
rebuilding the middle class. Those steps include rebalancing our 
economic policies, reinvesting in education, reinvesting--putting real 
support into workforce training, and enforcing trade laws that increase 
our exports and reinforce trade, three examples of enforcing trade laws 
that happened in the last couple of years, thanks in part to a more 
aggressive Obama administration finally on trade law. We have seen 
hundreds of jobs created in Lorain, OH; in Youngstown, OH, because of 
enforcement of trade laws on Oil Country Tubular Steel. We have seen 
rubber worker jobs, tire manufacturing jobs created in Finley, OH, 
because of enforcement of international trade law. We have seen coated 
paper jobs, paper manufacturing jobs in Butler County, OH, again, 
because of an aggressive Federal policy about enforcing trade law, but 
we don't see enough of that.

  There are other steps more modest but demonstrate a commitment to our 
manufacturing sector--one step requiring the Federal Government when 
purchasing flags to purchase only those flags 100 percent American 
made. That sounds fairly amazing that they are not made in America 
today. It sounds fairly amazing that would make much difference but 
really it does.
  Currently, Federal law requires that American flags purchased by the 
U.S. Government contain a minimum of 50 percent American-made products 
or components. So the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department 
of Homeland Security or the U.S. Capitol buys the American flags and 
under law they only need to be 50 percent made in the United States of 
America. These are American flags. This legislation we will offer 
today, which has the support of Senator Rockefeller, a Democrat from 
West Virginia, Senator Collins, a Republican from Maine, Senator 
Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, have joined me as cosponsors. It 
honors our country by ensuring American flags flown over government 
buildings are actually American flags.
  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the value of imported American 
flags to the United States was $3.2 million with $2.8 million coming 
from China. When I think about all of the production in China, I often 
think about young workers--and when I say young workers, I mean young 
workers in China--who make things people in the United States buy. I 
have to think Chinese workers, if they think about this while they are 
working, must be a bit amused that they are making American flags in 
China and selling them to us. They must think what kind of country is 
this that doesn't make their own flags. It just occurred to me that 
would be amusing if it weren't somewhat tragic.
  The Congressional Research Service said there are at least eight all-
American flag manufacturers in the United States. There are eight 
companies that can do this. This isn't a question of rare Earth 
materials that we can't get enough of. I know the Senator from Colorado 
has been interested in that issue, the Presiding Officer.
  The increased demand for made in the U.S.A. flags will lead to more 
jobs. Thanks to this legislation we will have more production.
  In a time when we face economic hardship, it is critical to invest in 
the manufacturing base. There is no product that deserves a U.S.A. 
label more than American flags. Manufacturing built a strong middle 
class. When you think of the combination of large-scale manufacturing 
of all kinds of products and collective bargaining laws that let people 
come together and bargain and negotiate collectively, it clearly is the 
way we built the middle class in this country.
  It is critical today that the government lead by example. That is why 
the Ohio Senate bill 5 is so important, the repeal of the repeal of 
collective bargaining. It is why manufacturing is so important.
  This legislation today that I will bring up in a moment is a modest 
step towards building that manufacturing strategy, moving forward on 
made in America and a modest step towards enhancing and strengthening 
our manufacturing base.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Homeland Security 
Committee be discharged from further consideration of S. 1188 and that 
the Senate proceed to its consideration.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Udall of Colorado). Without objection, it 
is so ordered.
  The clerk will report the bill by title.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       A bill (S. 1188) to require the purchase of domestically 
     made flags of the United States of America for use by the 
     Federal Government.

  There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the bill.
  Mr. BROWN of Ohio. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
Brown of Ohio substitute amendment at the desk, which we just 
discussed, be agreed to, the bill, as amended, be read a third time and 
passed, the motions to reconsider be laid upon the table, with no 
intervening action or debate, and any statements related to the bill be 
printed in the Record.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment (No. 587) was agreed to, as follows:

                (Purpose: In the nature of a substitute)

       Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 


       This Act may be cited as the ``All-American Flag Act''.


       (a) In General.--Except as provided under subsection (b), 
     only such flags of the United States of America, regardless 
     of size, that are 100 percent manufactured in the United

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     States, from articles, materials, or supplies 100 percent of 
     which are grown, produced, or manufactured in the United 
     States, may be acquired for use by the Federal Government.
       (b) Waiver.--The head of an executive agency may waive the 
     requirement under subsection (a) on a case-by-case basis upon 
     a determination that--
       (1) the application of the limitation would cause 
     unreasonable costs or delays to be incurred; or
       (2) application of the limitation would adversely affect a 
     United States company.
       (c) Amendment of Federal Acquisition Regulation.--Not later 
     than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, 
     the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council established under 
     section 1302 of title 41, United States Code, shall amend the 
     Federal Acquisition Regulation to implement this section.
       (d) Definitions.--In this section:
       (1) Executive agency.--The term ``executive agency'' has 
     the meaning given the term in section 133 of title 41, United 
     States Code.
       (2) Federal acquisition regulation.--The term ``Federal 
     Acquisition Regulation'' has the meaning given the term in 
     section 106 of title 41, United States Code.


       Section 2 shall apply to purchases of flags made on or 
     after 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.


       This Act shall be applied in a manner consistent with 
     United States obligations under international agreements.

  The bill (S. 1188), as amended, was ordered to be engrossed for a 
third reading, was read the third time, and passed.