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Congressman Pushing Legislation To Require National Park Gift Shops To Carry "Made In America" Items


A congressman from New York has introduced legislation that would require that items in gift shops and visitor centers across the National Park System be made in America. The Works Progress Administration reproductions Doug Leen creates in the form of posters, stickers, and notecards would fit the bill.

A congressman from New York hopes to bolster pride in America, and boost American manufacturers, by pushing legislation that would require gift shops throughout the National Park System to carry items made in America.

“When I walk into one of the gift shops at our monuments or national parks, it’s deeply deflating that nearly every item – from American flag mugs to Theodore Roosevelt teddy bears – comes with a ‘Made in China’ sticker,” said Rep. Steve Israel, D-New York. “If we want American manufacturing to thrive again, then we need to show that we believe in it. That’s why I’m introducing legislation to bring ‘Made in the USA’ back to our nation’s proudest sites.”

The legislation, the American Parks, American Products Act, was introduced last Thursday. It would require that all items sold in gift shops, and visitors centers within the National Park System be made in America.

According to the congressman's staff, a large number of items sold at national parks and monuments are produced abroad, many in China. The current U.S. trade deficit with China, his staff noted, is at a record high with a $273 billion trade gap between what the U.S. imports versus exports from China. The overall U.S. trade deficit is $497 billion and that was projected to grow in 2011.

According to ABC News, “Economists say that if every one of us spent an extra $3.33 on U.S.-made goods every year, it would create nearly 10,000 new jobs in this country.”

Congressman Israel's staff says the Park Service administers more than 500 concessions contracts, with a gross annual valuation of more than $1 billion.

However, his staff could not say Friday what it would cost park concessionaires and cooperating associations to switch from items made abroad to those made in America.

Back on Long Island in the congressman's district, union leaders praised the legislation.

“The Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, would like to thank Congressman Israel for his commitment to promoting American made products.  His efforts will support the livelihoods of millions of hard-working Americans, including union members, who are capable of building, maintaining and servicing the American economy," said Roger Clayman, the executive director of the Long Island Federation of Labor. "There are 25 million people in our country who need full-time work, and there is plenty of work to be done."

New York, alone, has 22 units of the National Park System that were visited by more than 17.5 million people in 2010, according to the Democrat's staff.

In 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the “Buy American Act” into law, his staff noted. The legislation created a preference for American goods in government purchases. The American Parks, American Products Act  follows the precedent set by FDR of encouraging domestic manufacturing and job creation through government purchases, it added.


I think you are right Allison.

I am a handcrafter and have just inquired as to the buying process for one of the consessions and will see what results.

If it takes some imagination and ingenuity, so much the better.

Then lets use some imagination and ingenuity rather than forcing people to do something they don't want to do. If the public wants American made, they will ask for it.

Interesting discussion. I for one support the Congressman. There are so many reasons to find excuses not to do something, its difficult to change much except for finding ways to maximize profits. It is time we started making things in American again. If it takes some imagination and ingenuity, so much the better. One of the reasons we are importing so much of this "stuff" is because companies can undercut american wages and benefits, not to mention circumvention of environmental laws, workplace safety conditions, equal opportunity hiring, child labor laws, sexual haressment in the workplace, equal pay for equal work, well the list can get quite lengthly. It is a race to the bottom for the working person. We are living in an economy that is becoming more and more service oriented with low paid and part time employees. This is all justified by the "social darwinists", as the top 1% are the there through the natural selection process. The reason they are so important is that they, and they alone create the jobs the rest of us seek. This social theory was dreamed up (by Herbert Spencer if my memory serves my correctly), to support the robber barons of the 1920's. And we know what that led to. The fact is that the middle class is the job creator, not the 1%. No lets start making things in America again, not only will the gift shops in the parks do better (and accually sell more quality stuff), but so will the entire economy. We will all benefit from "Made in America". The National Parks are a great place to start in my own humble opinion.

I am a handcrafter. I make artisan jewelry and sell it both retail and to other shops and boutiques around the country. There is a wealth of individuals in this country that are micro businesses that make and sell their work- many of them at production scale. To hear that there aren't enough things in this country being made is ridiculous. Maybe there aren't cookie cutter things being made, but that is what makes them great.

we have a unevean trade balance with china we need to change that to where they have a even trade balance with the U.S.

Mostly evrey thing I got form china is broken. I hate it all are jobs are going over seas.

Mighty American of all of you to find every excuse in the book to keep your neighbors out of work. the reason we are out of jobs is because very little is made in America. What is made in America, is overshadowed by cheap stuff coming from overseas. Our economy will never move forward with excuses. It starts with consumers demanding and buying American made producst whenever possible. I am with the Congressman. It is un-American to being buying a U.S. flag made in China. Do you think the Chinese buy Chinese flags made in America.....probably not, apparently they aren't as dumb as we are.  

Thanks, Tom. That provides a bit of real-world context to it, above the good idea/bad idea arguments. 

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