Rep. Steve Israel and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand were quick to seize on the growing indignation over the US Olympic team’s made in China uniforms, designed by Ralph Lauren to be worn during the opening ceremony.

The Long Island congressman and New York’s junior senator fired off a letter to Lawrence F. Probst, chair of the US Olympic Committee, asking that he and the Board of Directors “take immediate steps to guarantee that this embarrassment does not happen again by voting that any future contracts for Olympic uniforms are made in America.”

“There is no compelling reason why all of the uniforms cannot be made here on U.S. soil at the same price, at better quality,” the Democratic lawmakers wrote. “Just as our athletes will be proudly competing in London, American manufacturers compete for the honor to outfit them on the criteria of using solely American workers to make these uniforms.”

“It has been reported by economists that if every one of us spent an extra $3.33 on U.S.- made goods every year, it would create nearly 10,000 new jobs in this country. We also know that manufacturing is on the rise in the U.S. As reported in June, U.S. manufacturers added nearly 500,000 jobs in the previous 26 months – the strongest growth for any 26 month period since 1995.”

Israel and Gillibrand estimated that manufacturing Olympic garments in the US would generate $1 billion for the economy here at home. Israel expressed hope that the decision to outsource manufacturing of these uniforms would be reconsidered, but since the games are scheduled to start on July 27, that seems highly unlikely.

The New York lawmakers are hardly alone in their outrage.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had one of the most extreme reactions to this story, which was broken by ABC News yesterday, saying he thinks the uniforms should be put into a “big pile” and “burned”, adding: “I hope they wear nothing but a singlet that says ‘USA’ on it painted by hand. We have people in America working in the textile industry who are desperate for jobs.”

U S Olympic COmmittee Uniform Letter (2)