WASHINGTON, D.C. (WBOY) – A group of U.S. senators, including West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, have introduced a bill that would require the federal government to only buy American flags that are produced entirely on American soil.

According to a release from Sen. Manchin, as of now, the federal government can purchase flags that contain only 50% American-made materials. The All-American Flag Act would prevent the federal government from buying and using any flag that was not produced entirely with American-made materials and manufactured completely in the United States. 

Data from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Census said that in 2015, the U.S. imported $4.4 million worth of American flags, with $4 million of those imported from China. In 2017, the U.S. imported 10 million American flags; all but 50,000 of those came from China, Senator Manchin’s office pointed out.

“Every day, students, Veterans, soldiers, scouts and Americans pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. We salute it; we fight for it; we honor it and celebrate it,” Senator Manchin said. “I am proud to co-sponsor the bipartisan All-American Flag Act to require the federal government to purchase flags produced entirely on American soil with American materials, which will create good-paying jobs and spur economic growth across the country. I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this important legislation and I look forward to getting it across the finish line and signed into law.”

The full list of sponsors for the bill is as follows: Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.).

“American flags should be made in America, period,” Senator Brown said. “Today, half of the materials that our women and men in uniform fight under can be made in China. We have to change that. We shouldn’t use taxpayer dollars to purchase American flags made overseas when American companies — and companies right here in Ohio — proudly produce the American flag. My bipartisan All-American Flag Act would ensure that the government buys flags that are entirely produced and manufactured in America, by American workers.”

“The American flag serves as a symbol of our identity, resolve, and values as one people. To honor its significance, the federal government should only use flags entirely manufactured in the United States,” Senator Collins said. “This bipartisan legislation will ensure that the symbol of our nation is preserved while supporting American jobs and manufacturers.”

“I am proud to join my colleagues in leading the All-American Flag Act to ensure that American flags, bought with American taxpayer dollars, flying over the property of America’s government are American made,” added Senator Scott. “There is absolutely no reason why taxpayer dollars should go to foreign governments to buy American flags. This legislation is a no-brainer. When I was governor of Florida we signed this commonsense legislation into law, and I am proud to continue this effort in the Senate. I encourage my colleagues to support its passage.” 

Bipartisan companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Shontel Brown (D-OH), Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).