An amendment to the $787bn economic stimulus bill signed into law by President Barack Obama yesterday (17 February) has been welcomed by the US textile industry for its potential to create new jobs and business.

The Kissell amendment to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (HR 1) will require the Department of Homeland Security's Transportation Security Administration and the Coast Guard to buy textiles and clothing with 100% US-made components.

The revision extends the Berry amendment, which already requires the Department of Defense to buy military uniforms, combat boots, parachutes, body armour and other textile-based products from US sources.

It was sponsored by US Congressman Larry Kissell (D-NC), and supporters of the bill say it will create and stabilise thousands of US jobs.

"It is estimated upwards of 20,000 people will have jobs due to this measure," Congressman Kissell said.

Auggie Tantillo, executive director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC) adds: "For every $100m spent annually under the Kissell Amendment, the US government will create or save 5,000 US manufacturing and other jobs."

Trade groups now want the program to be expanded to cover other DHS agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Customs and Border Protection, the Secret Service, and Citizenship & Immigration Services.

They are currently excluded because the US government is a signatory to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA), which prohibits Berry-type provisions.

However, as agencies critical to national security they could be exempted from the GPA if the Obama Administration chose to do so.