By Livia Shmavonian, Made in America Director
Yesterday, in his State of the Union speech, President Biden spoke to the success of the made in America agenda and its critical role in supporting growth in new industries and spurring more manufacturing in the United States. Delivering on the President’s words, today the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released proposed guidance to boost the use of American-made goods in infrastructure projects. As part of the Biden Administration’s efforts to ensure a future made in America, OMB is proposing new standards to determine if construction materials for federally funded infrastructure projects are made in the USA—supporting American businesses and workers.
A little over a year ago, President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure that created a historic opportunity to invest in American industry and workers by strengthening Made in America standards. The law, which includes the Build America, Buy America Act (BABA), significantly expanded these standards to require that federally funded infrastructure projects use American-made iron, steel, construction materials, and manufactured products. That means taxpayer dollars funding our country’s infrastructure projects are invested back in American jobs and American manufacturing. Since then, the Biden-Harris Administration has made significant progress rebuilding our roads and bridges, making public transportation accessible, investing in clean water infrastructure, upgrading power grids to transmit clean energy, and more. At the same time, companies are investing in America again, building out their manufacturing footprints, and creating good-paying jobs—including 750,000 manufacturing jobs since the President took office.
To support implementation of the law, OMB released initial implementation guidance last year to provide preliminary direction to agencies for determining when construction materials are “Made in America” and how to apply the statutory Buy America preference to iron, steel, and manufactured products. The guidance allowed projects funded at that time to boost the use of American-made goods while the Administration developed lasting standards.
Today’s proposed guidance sets standards to carry out the statutory requirement that all manufacturing processes for construction material occur in the United States. This includes domestic manufacturing process standards for each construction material referenced in the BIL, including plastic and polymer-based products, glass (including optic glass), lumber, and drywall. Furthermore, the proposed guidance will help clarify for assistance recipients and American manufacturers the standards that apply to construction materials covered under BABA.
This major step forward will strengthen implementation of domestic content standards, while also improving Federal financial assistance management, consistency, transparency, and oversight to ensure effective stewardship of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding. When finalized, the guidance will guide agencies in using taxpayer dollars on infrastructure to strengthen our economy by supporting the creation of good jobs in both construction and manufacturing through the expansion of domestic production.
The President believes that when we spend American taxpayers’ dollars, we should support American workers and businesses. Making more products at home creates manufacturing jobs, strengthens supply chains, and helps lower costs. Through the proposed guidance announced today, we are continuing to set a strong foundation for effective, efficient, and equitable implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and delivering on the President’s promise of a future made in America by all of America’s workers.