During last night’s State of the Union address, President Joe Biden announced his administration is going to expand the Buy American Act to include “all construction materials used in federal infrastructure projects to be made in America.” Under the current Buy American Act, steel and/or iron components on federal procurement projects must be mined, melted, and manufactured in the United States. In his address, President Biden stated that this requirement would go much further beyond steel and iron to apparently include “American-made lumber, glass, drywall, fiber optic cables.” He said, “On my watch, American roads, American bridges, and American highways will be made with American products.”
The Biden administration already made significant changes to the Buy American Act in 2021, when it implemented progressive limitations on the amount of foreign components that could be implemented into a steel or iron end product and increased price preferences for “critical” components and products. See our prior Schwabe article for information related to those and other changes in the Buy American Act.
Obviously, there are significant details that need to be worked through before the Buy American Act can actually be amended to include all construction materials. Our attorneys will continue to monitor this potentially significant change in the law and keep you apprised as proposed changes and details begin to surface.
As a reminder, don’t confuse the Buy American Act with the Buy America Act. The Buy American Act applies to federally procured construction projects, while the Buy America Act applies to federally funded transportation projects that are often procured at the state level.
This article summarizes aspects of the law and does not constitute legal advice. For legal advice on your situation, you should contact an attorney.
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