Administration Releases Buy America Guidance to Agencies; EPA Guidance Forthcoming
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has released its guidance to federal agencies on how they shall implement the new and expanded Build America, Buy America (BABA) mandates that were enacted as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Under the new BABA mandate, federal agencies must ensure that “none of the funds made available for a Federal financial assistance program for infrastructure, including each deficient program, may be obligated for a project unless all of the iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in the project are produced in the United States.” This means that the mandate applies to all federal assistance programs, not just programs funded under IIJA.
The guidance outlines how federal agencies shall implement both the BABA mandates for manufactured products, as well as how a waiver process for projects should be established if certain circumstances are met. A detailed summary of the key elements of OMB’s guidance can be reviewed here. The guidance is the first step in the implementation of BABA. OMB’s Made In America Office will be the lead office for implementation purposes of BABA. Next steps will be for federal agencies to develop their own specific program guidance. The deadline for agency specific guidance is May 14, 2022. It is expected that agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), will release their guidance in the coming weeks. As part of the process to develop their guidance, USEPA will be hosting a webinar on BABA for manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and manufacturing associations to discuss the new BABA requirement, and the way in which it intersects with the American Iron and Steel requirement. The webinar is scheduled for April 25, 2022, at 2:00pm (EST). Event registration can be accessed here.