WASHINGTON—The U.S. Senate has passed the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act by a 92-7 vote, three days after the U.S. House of Representatives approved the bill 375-34.
The $619 billion funding bill, which now goes to President Obama for his signature, includes language directing all branches of the Armed Forces to comply with the Berry Amendment and provide 100 percent American-made athletic footwear to recruits entering basic training.
Big Rapids, Mich.-based footwear manufacturer Wolverine Worldwide praised passage of the Berry Amendment portion of the NDAA.
Wolverine is the parent company of Saucony, which provides high-performance athletic footwear to the U.S. military, as well as Bates, the largest provider of combat boots, dress military shoes and other footwear to the military.
"This legislation will positively impact footwear manufacturing in Michigan as well as the industrial base throughout the United States," Wolverine said in a press release.
Wolverine had special praise for members of the congressional delegations of Michigan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and South Dakota.
"Their hard work and leadership during NDAA consideration has ensured that recruits will have access to high-quality, American-made athletic footwear for military training and will help expand manufacturing for footwear and related components throughout the United States," the company said.
In October 2016, Wolverine broke ground on a 16,000-sq.-ft. expansion of its 80,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing facility in Big Rapids. The addition, which is scheduled for completion in early 2017, was undertaken to meet demand from military footwear contracts and expand Wolverine's presence in Michigan, the company said at the time. When completed, the expansion will add about 20 jobs to the more than 600 employees at Big Rapids, it said.
Among other things, the NDAA also contains a provision to help universities and qualified organizations, including non-profits, to strengthen their engineering programs and prepare students for the modern manufacturing industry, according to a press release from the office of Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.
"I'm thrilled Congress came together in a bipartisan way to help students across the country acquire the skills they need for jobs in today's advanced manufacturing industries," Coons said.