American flags made in China now banned in U.S. military

(Image Credit: CBS News / CBS.com)

(Image Credit: CBS News / CBS.com)

(CBS News) ROHNERT PARK, Calif. - Soldiers carry them into battle, fly them high over foreign bases, and triumphantly carry them in processions, but those stars and stripes, until now, have often been made in China.

That irony spurred North Bay Congressman Mike Thompson to write legislation requiring flags purchased by the Department of Defense be 100 percent “Made in America,” reports CBS San Francisco

That legislation is now law, signed as part of the 2014 omnibus appropriations bill.

“I thought it was appalling our Department of Defense would have flags made in other countries,” Thompson said. “But it’s also important because we need to be making more in America.”

While the military flag rule passed, a similar bill requiring all government-purchased flags be made in the U.S. has repeatedly failed. The change isn’t cheap. Chinese-made flags cost significantly less than all-American ones.

The new requirements apply the existing Berry Amendment passed in 1941 to flags. That amendment bans the Defense Department from buying food, clothing, military uniforms, fabrics, stainless steel, and hand or measuring tools that are not grown or produced in the United States, except in rare exceptions.

“I am proud to have worked to pass this law so that our men and women in uniform never have to fight under a U.S. flag made overseas, and so that our Defense Department never again spends American taxdollars on a U.S. flag made overseas,” said the Vietnam War veteran and Purple Heart recipient.

Thompson toured North Bay Industries on Tuesday. The Rohnert Park company makes thousands of flags each year, mainly for the Department of Veteran Affairs, which was already required to source memorial flags made in the United States with American-only materials.

North Bay Industries is a vocational rehabilitation center dedicated to assisting mentally, physically, and developmentally disabled adults through participation in agency-sponsored training, housing, and employment programs.

Thompson had visited the Rohnert Park facility last year and found out that not all flags purchased by the military were being made in the U.S, which he said prompted the need for the legislation.

© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

13 comments

  • Olivia

    I think this is wonderful. We should have flags only from the US, not just for our military but at our homes as well. It’s one thing I try to always check for.

  • Wanda

    Being forced to fly American flags made overseas is an insult to our men and women who serve our country! So glad this has finally been changed, America needs the jobs and America needs the pride in her people as well!

  • soldier

    why has it taken so long to make this a law. it should have been this way from day one. little did i know american money was going to paying people from other countries to make our flags and have our soldiers carry them.. wheres the pride. this is a good law and just common american sense..

  • Red

    Yeah… Good idea. Now every flag maker in the US should triple their prices. If everybody thinks its such a great idea, then they will just love to hand over more money for it.

  • Julia Beasley

    This is WONDERFUL!! Sure is nice to hear something IN FAVOR of Americans. This is a great start……more things need to be MADE IN AMERICA!!

  • mamac

    You go Mike Thompson!!!! Now if MORE of OUR PRODUCTS was made in the USA more of OUR people would have jobs…For instances if the sock mills hadn’t move over seas the USA people would have jobs instead of standing in the unemployment line…So, again you go MIKE THOMPSON!!!

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