House Passes Bangladesh Procurement Bill

The House took the first Congressional action on the Bangladesh garment safety issue, reported WWD, by passing a comprehensive Department of Defense spending bill. This new bill would require "all military licensed and branded apparel sold at military base stores to comply with a binding, enforceable accord on fire and building safety in Bangladesh's garment industry."

Although it passed on a vote of 315 to 108, it faces significant hurdles like a veto threat issued by the White House, citing opposition to several provisions in the legislation.

House lawmakers agreed upon an amendment to the bill late Thursday night offered by Reps. George Miller (D., Calif.) and Jan Schakowsky (D., Ill.) that would require military exchanges that sell their own branded and licensed garments that are made in Bangladesh "to join or "abide by" the conditions of a legally binding safety accord, led by InudstriALL Global Union that 50 mainly European retailers and brands have signed." Three American companies, PVH Corp., Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and Sean John, have signed.

"Our goal is not to stop or slow the Bangladesh garment industry. I believe that this country is an important U.S. ally," Miller said. "Our goal is to ensure that the purchasing power of our military exchanges will continue to promote American values of fairness, justice and human rights.

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