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Maine lawmakers cheer $17M defense contract with shoemaker

March 16, 2018

SKOWHEGAN, Maine (AP) — A $17.3 million U.S. Department of Defense contract with New Balance to provide U.S.-made athletic shoes to service members is getting cheers from lawmakers in Maine, where the company employs hundreds of people.

Members of the delegation pushed for athletic footwear to be made subject to the Berry Amendment, which requires the defense department to give preference to home-grown products.

Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin, Republican Sen. Susan Collins and independent Sen. Angus King issued a joint statement on Thursday that the Pentagon is “rightly prioritizing American workers.”

The move to require the defense department to buy American footwear was not without critics, and the provision had to survive a challenge led by South Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Sanford in 2016 to remove it.

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