The Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was officially passed in early January 2021, according to Janelle Wells Buerkley, divisions manager at Industrial Fabrics Association International, Roseville, Minn. After a long journey of negotiations, the NDAA contains a provision that will decrease the Berry Amendment Simplified Acquisition Threshold (SAT) level from its current level of $250,000 to $150,000. Military purchases at or above the SAT are subject to Berry and must be sourced wholly in the United States. The bill also decouples the Berry SAT from its regular escalation arrangement and ties future SAT increases to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
This is a substantial win for the industry and the members of the U.S. Industrial Fabrics Institute (USIFI) and Narrow Fabrics Institute (NFI) who have lobbied for this change since the SAT was increased to $250,000 as part of the FY 2018 NDAA. The increase has affected approximately $50 million in orders annually. As the timeline below demonstrates, USIFI and NFI’s government relations team works all year to inform, advocate and supply resources for members to be as impactful as possible to make the changes that count. This outcome should result in more Department of Defense awards for domestic manufacturers, including USIFI and NFI members that actively bid on defense contracts.
Timeline of Advocacy
See below for an overview of actions taken by the USIFI and NFI’s Government Relations program team and members to contribute to this success:
March 2020: USIFI and NFI members participated in Advocacy Day in Washington D.C., on March 4. Members attended more than 35 meetings with their representatives’ offices to request the Berry Amendment SAT level be reduced back to $150,000 from its current level of $250,000. Members also requested that the Berry SAT be decoupled from its regular escalation process and have future SAT increases tied to the CPI.
June 2020: The membership was notified that the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) adopted language in the FY 2021 NDAA draft that aligned with USIFI and NFI asks made in March.
October 2020: Members were updated on continued negotiations between the House and Senate Armed Services Committees and were encouraged to reach out to their congressional representatives to urge the inclusion of the Senate’s language in the final draft of the NDAA.
On October 21, a letter with 38 Congressional signatures was sent to the House Armed Services Committee to help encourage the lowering of SAT back to $150,000.
December 2020: The SASC and the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) completed their Conference Report on the FY 2021 NDAA, both agreeing to adopt language to reduce the Berry Amendment SAT and decouple the Berry SAT from its regular escalation arrangement, tying future SAT increases to the CPI.
The House and Senate both passed the final version of the bill.
December 2020 – January 2021: U.S. President Donald Trump vetoed the FY2021 NDAA and was then overridden by both the House and Senate.