Following the lead of the US House, the US Senate supported the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), sending the $858 billion bill to President Biden’s desk for signature. The NDAA provides significant support for US textile makers via the Homeland Procurement Reform (HOPR) Act that creates DHS procurement requirements for uniforms.
Specifically, the bill directs DHS to procure more domestically manufactured uniforms, footwear, and other critical items. The HOPR Act mandates that a minimum of one-third of all funds allocated for procuring uniforms and protective equipment by the military or DHS be used on US small businesses.
One objective of the domestic procurement mandate in the HOPR Act is to create a stream of demand from the federal government to bolster overall domestic textile production. Another goal is to give small businesses an advantage against foreign manufacturers by guaranteeing them at least some US federal contracting funds.
With both, the hope is that the increased business will rejuvenate what has been a declining industry in the US for decades.
A third objective is to move the sourcing of uniforms and protective gear to domestic businesses as a matter of national security. The more uniforms and protective equipment get made in the United States, the less the country must rely on foreign production.
Reducing the reliance on foreign goods can help overcome supply chain disruptions such as happened during the pandemic or could happen during other world events. The less the US government and military have to rely on imports of textiles, the less of a chance those imports get caught up in logistics or supply chain delays.
Widespread Industry Support
Textile manufacturers have applauded the passage of the NDAA, specifically the HOPR Act. According to industry experts, the HOPR Act represents a guaranteed minimum procurement business upon which the industry can build.
Kim Glas, the current CEO of the National Council of Textile Organizations (NTCO), said they applaud the role of the Senate in getting the NDAA all the way through for Joe Biden to sign.
Furthermore, Kim said that to produce more uniforms, footwear, and more apparel related to DHS agencies, the Homeland Procurement Reform (HOPR) is a critical bill to establish the criteria to follow.
A Bi-Partisan Effort
The bill received bipartisan support, with only a few Senators objecting to it, mainly because they had criteria and concessions they wanted included that would guarantee their support. Once these hurdles were cleared, the HOPR Act received the support necessary to clear procedural processes and gain full passage.
The Senate passing the HOPR Act was the last obstacle to transitioning the bill into law with the President’s signature. Previously, the US House had passed an iteration of the bill with bipartisan support. President Biden is expected to sign the bill immediately. The bill and its criteria for domestic uniforms and protective equipment purchases will go into effect within six months.
Image credit: HASC livestream