WASHINGTON -- Maine Congressman Mike Michaud, who has long been active on fair trade issues, has joined the chorus of lawmakers upset that U.S. Olympians will be wearing uniforms made in China when they compete in London later this month.

Michaud, D-District 2, co-led a coalition of 59 members of Congress who signed a letter on Tuesday urging the U.S. Olympic Committee to adopt policies to ensure that – presumably in the future – olympians’ uniforms are manufactured in this country. U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-District 1, was also a co-signer.

With the Olympics just a few weeks away, the bipartisan letter is largely symbolic, however. And while the signers expressed their “outrage” that designer Ralph Lauren had the uniforms made in China, they stopped well short of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s comments last week that they should “take all of the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them.”

“American manufacturing is critical to the soul of the country,” reads the letter to Scott Blackmun, the Olympic Committee’s CEO. “The U.S. textile and apparel industry provides the backbone to many cities and towns. These American companies are capable of making these uniforms at competitive prices. Hard working Americans should have the privilege of manufacturing uniforms for Team USA.”

On Wednesday, Michaud and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, will also join a group of New Balance employees from Maine and elsewhere who will be on Capitol Hill. The group has concerns about a new potential free trade agreement and changes to tariffs that they fear could hurt domestic manufacturers.

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Open Season is your guide to the 2014 campaign. Our team of political writers has its sights set on Maine’s major elections, from the Blaine House to the U.S. Capitol.

Steve Mistler is covering the 2014 governor's race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.
Steve can be reached at 791-6345 or smistler@pressherald.com.
On Twitter: @stevemistler

Eric Russell is covering Independent Eliot Cutler during the 2014 governor's race. He is a general assignment reporter for the Portland Press Herald.
Eric can be reached at 791-6344 or erussell@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @pphericrussell

Matt Byrne is covering Republican Paul LePage during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Falmouth, Cumberland, North Yarmouth, Yarmouth and Freeport for the Portland Press Herald.
Matt can be reached at 791-6303 or mbyrne@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @mattbyrnePPH

Randy Billings is covering Democrat Mike Michaud during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Portland City Hall for the Portland Press Herald.
Randy can be reached at 791-6346 or rbillings@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @randybillings

Kevin Miller is covering Maine's U.S. Senate race and 1st Congressional District race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or kmiller@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @kevinmillerdc

Michael Shepherd is covering Maine's 2nd Congressional District race. He is a news and State House reporter for the Kennebec Journal.
Michael can be reached at 621-5632 or mshepherd@centralmaine.com
On Twitter: @mikeshepherdME

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