Canton Repository

November 29, 2001

Regula hopes amendment can save Perry glove plant 

Copley Washington correspondent

WASHINGTON — Rep. Ralph Regula, R-Bethlehem Township, has won House approval of an amendment that urges the Defense Department to buy American-made products whenever possible.

Even if the Senate also agreed to the amendment, it would not require the military to buy American products, Regula acknowledged. But, he added, “I think it would give substantial leverage to any effort to push them to buy American products, to be able to point to the fact that it is the sense of Congress that they should wherever possible buy American.”

The amendment is part of a multibillion-dollar defense bill that will fund the military next year. The Senate and House still must agree on defense spending. Regula believes there’s a “good chance” his amendment will survive in the final version of the bill agreed to by both chambers.

The bill would help ensure that the nation never becomes dependent on foreign countries for products necessary for national security, advocates say.

Regula said there’s also a possibility the amendment could encourage someone to purchase a surgical glove factory in Massillon, whose owners are moving production overseas. That could save 100 or more jobs at the Ansell Perry plant.

The plant is said to be the last manufacturer of latex surgical gloves left in the United States.

“I wouldn’t want to try to say it would be a panacea or a guarantee,” Regula said of his amendment.

On the other hand, he said, someone might decide to buy the plant and continue making gloves there if it was known the government would buy American-made over foreign-produced surgical gloves.