Rep. Sanford taking strides against New Balance earmark in defense amendment


Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) is sounding the cronyism alarm on an amendment inserted into the National Defense Authorization Act that requires the Defense Department purchase and supply recruits with sneakers made entirely in the U.S.  – a qualification only New Balance fulfills and that would effectively corner the market, driving up costs and injuries for our military men and women.

“It’s a good deal for the administration, the company, its lobbyists, and the members of Congress whose districts house the New Balance factories. It’s not good for taxpayers (the New Balance shoes are $30 more expensive than shoes currently available at troop stores), and it’s not good for new recruits, who went from being able to choose among 14 pairs of sneakers to being able to choose among three pairs and may see more foot injuries as a result,” reports

Furthermore, a Pentagon spokesperson told the Washington Free Beacon less variety in the supply of available running shoes could increase the amount of money needed to treat injuries.

“Great stock is put into making sure that recruits are fitted with the proper shoe due to the Pentagon’s assessment that recruit injuries are ‘single-most significant medical impediment to military readiness.’ The DOD already spends $100 million annually on recruit musculoskeletal injuries,” reads the report.

This is yet another reason the New Balance amendment is detrimental and fails to put our military first.

“This is madness for the way one size never fits all, takes from enlisted personnel a choice that had previously been theirs … and for the way it underscores how corporate interests too often prevail over individual interests and common sense in Washington,” Rep. Sanford says in a statement released after the House Rules Committee in May voted down his counter amendment.

But the Palmetto State congressman plans to stay the course.

“He’s still fighting,” writes Reason’s Veronique de Rugy. “And we can expect the Senate to pick up the fight, too. It’s not over yet.”

The House Rules Committee is voting today on whether or not Rep. Sanford’s amendment is in order. Please be sure to contact the nine Republicans on the Rules Committee to ask them to vote that this amendment is in order and it is a commonsense effort that supports our military AND curbs the corporate welfare.

UPDATE: The House Rules Committee voted that Rep. Sanford’s amendment is in order and can proceed forward in the process.