Bringing American flag manufacturing back to America - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Bringing American flag manufacturing back to America

AL Senator Mo Brooks approves the All-American Act. AL Senator Mo Brooks approves the All-American Act.

A staggering number of American flags are made in China, and the U.S. Federal Government is one of China's biggest buyers.

Now one lawmaker is looking to put a stop to that and bring production back to the USA.

Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio has written a bill that would require federal agencies to purchase American flags made in the United States that are made of all-domestic materials.

If passed, the "All-American Act" could bring back an American industry that needs a big boost and bring new business to flag makers here in Huntsville.

Those in the business say the U.S. flag industry has taken a big hit by foreign production.

On average, a small American stick flag made domestically costs about 22 cents more than one made in China.

It's a difference of pennies that adds up enough to push companies to buy overseas instead.

The dramatic decrease in business has impacted flag makers across the country, including ones in Huntsville, that are losing jobs and losing money.

For the most part, companies including federal agencies can buy American flags from wherever they choose.

Phoenix Flags on Johnson Road in Huntsville is the exception. The company manufactures burial flags for veterans. Those flags are required to be 100% made in the USA.

While the bill wouldn't impact Phoenix as much as other flag makers, the company's president says the bill would bring back the industry.

"The government accomplishes a lot of economic policy through its procurement practices. I think for the government to say US flags need to be made domestically, is not only a good policy but makes sense economically, because it means more jobs for Americans," said Bryan Dodson.

However, the push to bring American flag manufacturing back to America could defeat its own purpose.

The new bill in Washington also says a government agency can bypass the law if purchasing a domestic-made flag would cause unreasonable costs or delays.

Some domestic flag manufacturers are calling that part of the bill a Catch-22.

They say the cost to make the flags probably wouldn't change much from its current amount. There fear is since the cost can't go down, government agencies will continue to choose foreign-made flags.

However, even with that concern flag maker Phoenix says it's still a good opportunity for an American industry that could use a boost.

"I think it's a whole lot better than what's going on now. At least it makes a person working for the government stop and consider domestic flags," said Dodson.

Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks is for the bill. He says, "I am always one to encourage the federal government to use American tax dollars to purchase American-made products whenever it is reasonably possible to do so."

His response to the "Catch-22" is the government needs to have the option to purchase elsewhere. However, he says this endeavor will increase the likelihood of making domestic-made flags the first priority. 

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