Contractor Group Blasts Biden’s ‘Buy America’ Construction Mandate

The Associated General Contractors of America has slammed the rule as “doubling down on failed procurement policies.”

Source : POTUS

April 25, 2022

Author : Alex Bustillos

In April, the Biden Administration, through the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which reports to the White House, released a memo offering guidance to federal agencies on procuring materials.

Back in November, President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, called the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Within the bill is the Build America, Buy America Act, which the OMB memo helps clarify.

The 17-page memo emphasizes that agencies must purchase products made in America for projects under the infrastructure law. This includes “all iron and steel,” “all manufactured products used in the project,” and “construction materials.”

From water management to traditional transportation, electric vehicles, ports, aviation, and highways, the “Buy America” rule will have far-reaching implications during the course of the infrastructure investments in the $1.2 trillion package.

Agencies are being given until May 14 to ensure that all programs are in compliance, however certain waivers can be requested to bypass the requirements including a “nonavailability waiver,” a “public interest waiver,” and an “unreasonable cost waiver.”

Waivers are being handled by the OMB’s Made in America Office (MIAO), an office that is little more than a year old. 

“The new mandate requires individual federal agencies to run waivers by the White House for materials not made in America. This means that contractors, in addition to facing a patchwork of inconsistent, and likely conflicting, guidelines from individual agencies’ waiver processes, will also have to wait as the highest office in the land verifies them,” commented Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America. “This is like asking the U.S. Department of Education to verify every child’s permission slip to miss a day of school.”

Sandherr further argued that any benefit to the domestic construction industry from the new mandate “will be offset by the increased cost of constructing new projects, slow schedules to build those projects and the fact some key projects could be hamstrung from moving forward.”

“AGC of America supports sensible efforts to effectively incentivize the growth of America’s domestic manufacturing capacity. Instead, the Biden administration is doubling down on failed procurement policies with its new Buy America mandate,” the statement said.

Category : Federal Government Investment in Infrastructure Material Costs Procurement

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