SKOWHEGAN, Maine (AP) — The director of manufacturing at New Balance says a "Made-in-USA" provision for athletic footwear for military recruits could mean an additional 250,000 sneakers a year.
Brendan Melley touted the figure Wednesday as three members of Maine's congressional delegation visited a New Balance factory in Skowhegan, the Morning Sentinel reported.
Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin of Maine and Democratic Rep. Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts marshaled the effort to have the provision included in the defense spending bill in the House, while Maine Sens. Susan Collins, a Republican, and Angus King, an independent, did the same in the Senate.
President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill.
The provision applies the Berry Amendment to athletic shoes. That amendment requires the defense department to give preference to home-grown products.
Massachusetts-based New Balance is the only major athletic shoe company making its footwear in the United States. New Balance employs 900 people at Maine factories in Skowhegan, Norridgewock and Norway.
Melley said the company could make more profits by manufacturing shoes in different countries, but the company stayed in Maine to "do what's right."