Tenney Introduces SPOONSS Act to Restore Longstanding Buy America Requirement for Stainless Steel Flatware

Rep. Claudia Tenney

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-22) joined Congressman Daniel Lipinski (IL-3) in introducing the Support Procurement of our Nation’s Stainless Steel Act of 2017. This bipartisan bill would restore the Berry Amendment’s longstanding domestic sourcing requirement for stainless steel flatware.

The Berry Amendment restricts the Department of Defense (DoD) from buying certain goods produced outside of the United States. Berry ensures that the U.S. maintains a robust industrial base capable of supporting the DoD’s logistics needs, particularly when doing so is not cost-prohibitive.

Our national security demands that we have stable, reliable, and effective domestic supply chains so as to reduce our reliance on foreign goods and nations. To this end, the Berry Amendment requires the DoD to look domestic first for a range of goods and allows for waivers when domestic sourcing proves more costly.

From 1976-2006, the Berry Amendment included a domestic sourcing requirement for stainless steel flatware. During this time, Oneida Ltd. was the primary domestic supplier for all of DoD. However, when Oneida Ltd. shifted its flatware manufacturing overseas in 2007, this provision was eliminated in the absence of a domestic flatware producer. As a result, DoD determined that stainless steel flatware was “a commercial commodity little produced in the U.S. after Oneida Ltd. ceased its domestic manufacturing operations.”

However, given the success and stability of a domestic supplier capable of meeting demand, the provision should be reinstated.  Sherrill Manufacturing, located in the 22nd District, is currently the only domestic flatware manufacturer in operation.

“American taxpayers overwhelmingly support having their hard-earned tax dollars go to American companies, so long as doing so does not raise the costs of business or unnecessarily burden government operations. Reinstating the Berry Amendment’s three-decades old domestic sourcing provision for stainless steel flatware will provide our service members with high-quality, fair and reasonably priced Made in America flatware while providing a no-cost boost to local manufacturing and small businesses across the country. As the President highlights Made in America week and celebrates the quality of American made goods, this bill will ensure that our federal government prioritizes ‘Buying American,’ said Tenney. “As the only flatware manufacturer made 100 percent in America, Sherrill Manufacturing has proven their commitment to our nation and our community time and again. This bill will support American manufacturing, while protecting and growing jobs here at home and across the country.”

This bill would benefit a range of U.S. companies that feed into Sherrill’s supply chain, while creating new opportunities for a host of domestic manufacturers that already produce American made stainless steel cookware. Sherrill’s supply chain extends throughout the country, touching nearly 100 companies in more than five states including American stainless steel sourced from Ohio.

“Americans want their tax dollars to ‘Buy American and Hire American,’ and this bill helps to do just that,” said Lipinski. “I’m proud to help introduce this legislation that will strengthen our steel industry and create American manufacturing jobs.”

“A big thank you to Claudia Tenney and her staff for pushing hard to have all flatware for the DoD Made in America as it was for many decades.  Our company and our employees applaud her efforts which will boost both sales and employment at Sherrill Manufacturing, located right here in Central New York,” said Greg Owens, CEO of Sherrill Manufacturing and Matt Roberts, President of Sherrill Manufacturing.

For most of the 30 years that the Berry Amendment’s flatware requirement was in effect, there was only one eligible domestic producer. Therefore, it has already been demonstrated that a single supplier with a well-documented track record can meet the DoD’s demand.

Additionally, the DoD can waive this requirement and is not locked in to purchasing domestic if doing so raises costs. The amendment maintains all existing cost and quality waivers. This means that if the quality, quantity available, or cost of Sherrill’s products were to change, this amendment retains DoD’s ability to waive the requirement and opt to purchase flatware from others sources.

Sherrill Manufacturing acquired Oneida Ltd.’s facilities and assets in 2005. Since then, domestic flatware production has rebounded, with Sherrill Manufacturing posting remarkable growth and relying on a domestic supply chain of more than 100 companies.

Since 2008, Sherrill Manufacturing has sold more than $6.8 million in flatware to the federal government, including to the Department of Defense, through General Services Administration (GSA) Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) contracts as well as GSA Advantage. This has demonstrated their reliability as a stable domestic supplier of flatware at prices that GSA has repeatedly determined are “fair and reasonable.”

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