By Celeste Drake, Made in America Director
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law represents a once-in-a-generation investment in America’s infrastructure—a chance to rebuild roads, bridges, ports, and railways, expand access to clean drinking water, ensure every American has access to high-speed internet, tackle the climate crisis and advance environmental justice, and invest in communities that have too often been left behind. At the same time, it also created a historic opportunity to increase domestic manufacturing, support the creation of good jobs, and strengthen our supply chains and national security. Thanks to the bipartisan leadership of Senators Peters, Portman, Brown, Stabenow, and Baldwin, in addition to Congressmen Ryan and Norcross—it’s an opportunity we are seizing.
Earlier this week, OMB issued new guidance to help Federal agencies implement the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s “Build America, Buy America” provisions—groundbreaking new standards that will strengthen Made in America requirements and help ensure that Federally funded infrastructure projects use American-made iron, steel, construction materials, and manufactured products. Implementing these provisions will help bolster the U.S. industrial base and supply chains, support American workers and firms, drive new investment, and support the creation of good-paying jobs.
The guidance recognizes that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law presents a dual opportunity to create good jobs in both construction and manufacturing. It also recognizes that America’s critical supply chains have gaps—and that waivers will be needed while manufacturers scale up to meet demand. To that end, the guidance calls on agencies to issue waivers strategically and only as needed to help ensure that Made in America goods will be used once firms make needed investments to expand domestic production.
Consistent with the Executive Order on Implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Build America, Buy America guidance calls on agencies to ensure the President’s implementation priorities work together to ensure projects stay on time, on task, and on budget. Build America, Buy America implementation will create an opportunity for a virtuous cycle in which infrastructure investment, critical supply chain efforts, and policies that support domestic manufacturing align and are self-reinforcing.
Specifically, the Build America, Buy America guidance will help agencies:
- Ensure that appropriate programs and projects are covered by Made in America conditions for iron and steel, manufactured products, and construction materials;
- Transition to new policies as efficiently and possible;
- Develop transparent processes by which to consider waiver requests and criteria to apply when making decisions on waivers;
- Apply policies consistently to help grant recipients, manufacturers, and other stakeholders understand and navigate new procedures; and
- Use waivers not as an alternative to domestic sourcing, but as a strategic step toward greater domestic sourcing once domestic manufacturing scales up.
Finally, the guidance provides preliminary direction to agencies for determining when construction materials are “Made in America,” so that projects funded in the near future can boost the use of these important Made in America goods while the Administration seeks further input from affected stakeholders to develop more lasting standards.
Visit MadeInAmerica.gov to learn more about the Made in America Office and review nonavailability procurement waivers.