The legislation was formally introduced on Wednesday in the U.S. Senate by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and co-sponsored by Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
“This is the first time the bill has been introduced to the Senate, so this is exciting,” said Matt Priest, president of the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America. “Next week, a House version is supposed to be introduced, too. These will be introduced separately and then attached to other pieces of legislation, so it still has a ways to go, but it’s encouraging.”
If the bill is passed, about $800 million worth of duties on children’s and low-cost shoes would be eliminated, easing the tax burden on economically challenged famillies.
“At a time when they can least afford it, hardworking American families are about to face the first increase in apparel and footwear prices in more than a decade,” Kevin Burke, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, said in a statement. “The swift passage of the Affordable Footwear Act is one way Congress can help alleviate rising commodity and supply-chain costs that threaten to drive up the price of footwear and most other consumer goods.”