President Biden Signs Executive Order Boosting Federal Agencies’ ‘Buy American’ Requirements
On Monday, President Biden signed an executive order to increase the amount of U.S.-made products and component parts the federal government purchases. The “Buy American” executive order updates and refines existing federal laws that require government agencies to give preference to U.S. firms, and establishes the goals and standards necessary to use federal purchasing, and other forms of federal assistance with domestic preference requirements.
Among the executive order’s directives is a requirement for agencies to close current loopholes in how domestic content is measured and increase domestic content requirements. Existing Buy American rules establish a domestic content threshold—the amount of a product that must be made in the U.S. for a purchase to qualify under Buy American law. The executive order directs an increase in both the threshold and the price preferences for domestic goods—the difference in price over which government can buy a product from a non-U.S. supplier. It also updates how government decides if a product was sufficiently made in America.
The order also appoints a new senior leader in the Executive Office of the president in charge of the government’s Made-in-America policy approach. The new Director of Made-in-America at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) position will oversee the implementation of the executive order, make sure the president’s new rules are followed, work with key stakeholders and carry through the president’s vision in conjunction with their executive agency partners.
Oversight of potential waivers to domestic preference laws will also be increased by the creation of a central review of agency waivers of Buy American requirements. The executive order also directs the General Services Administration to publish relevant waivers on a publicly available website. And it will connect new businesses to contracting opportunities by requiring active use of supplier scouting by agencies. Agencies are directed to utilize the Manufacturing Extension Partnership—a national network in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, that supports small and medium-size manufacturers—to help agencies connect with new domestic suppliers who can make the products they need while employing America’s workers.