Sanders' 'Buy American' crusade helps Middlebury company

By:  Nicole Gaudiano

WASHINGTON - Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has expanded his efforts to get more American-made products on the shelves of taxpayer-supported gift shops.

His crusade started last year at the Smithsonian Institution, and he recently helped a Vermont wooden toy company get their products on the shelves. Now, he's pushing the National Park Service and Department of Veterans Affairs hospital stores to expand their inventories of homegrown merchandise

"At the very least, entities that are owned by the people of the United States - the Smithsonian, VA Administration, American national parks - should be, to the best they can, selling products made in America," Sanders said.

The Price of Freedom gift shop at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History began selling nothing but American-made gifts in June after Sanders threatened to introduce legislation requiring taxpayer-supported museums to sell more merchandise made in this country.

Sanders had complained after visiting one of the gift shops to buy Christmas presents for his grandchildren in December 2010 and finding they were selling Chinese-made busts of American presidents.

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