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Rep. Neal, Congress Angry with U.S. Olympic Uniforms being Made in China

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WGGB/ABC) — U.S. Rep. Richard Neal is joining the chorus of members of Congress who are upset after news broke that the uniforms worn by the U.S. Olympic athletes in the London games are made in China.

They’re competing for America, so should the U.S. Olympic Team wear uniforms made in America?

At the opening ceremonies in London in two weeks, the U.S. athletes will sport these red white and blue uniforms designed by Ralph Lauren – a classic American look.

But from head to toe – it’s all made overseas, more specifically in China.

It’s sparked an outrage from coast to coast.

Even some of the athletes are scratching their heads.

Sprinter Nick Symmonds tweeted ABC News, “Outsourcing will always be part of the global economy, but the opening ceremonies outfits? That just seems wrong.”

On Capitol Hill, rare bipartisan agreement.

“I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again,” says Nevada Senator Harry Reid.

“They should know better,” adds House Speacker John Boehner.

California Representative Nancy Pelosi notes, “They should be wearing uniforms that are made in America.”

It’s more than just the athlete’s uniforms.

If all the U.S. Olympic merchandise was made in America, analysts say it would keep about a billion dollars in the country – and create countless jobs.

Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown says this factory in his state could crank out new clothing before the olympics.  “They could make a blazer in the next ten days, get it to London in time for our athletes,” says Brown.

But would the U.S. Olympic Committee even consider it? A spokesman was non-committal.

“They’re made by an iconic America company that really supports our team and helps bring our team to the London games, and our team gets there because of that support,” says U.S. Olympic Committee spokesperson Patrick Sandusky.

The olympic committee spokesman also called the controversy nonsense.

So far, Ralph Lauren has declined to comment on the issue.

Friday, Congressman Richard Neal responded to the ABC News report and issued this statement, expressing his concern over the uniforms:

“I am surprised and deeply disappointed that the Olympic Committee had the uniforms of our U.S. Team made in China. It demonstrates extremely poor judgment on their part. With thousands in the textile industry struggling to make ends meet, you would expect the U.S. Olympic Committee to be more sensitive to the dilemma facing these hard working Americans and have the uniforms made here at home. In fact, why not have one of our local manufactures make the uniforms right here in Massachusetts? While we all wish Team USA the very best as they head to London later this month, the Olympic Committee will not be getting a medal for their regrettable decision to have our athletes uniforms made in China.”

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