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On January 25, President Biden signed his “Buy American” executive order. The new EO echoes Biden's $400 billion campaign pledge to increase government purchases of American goods. The EO will impose tougher rules on government procurement practices to increase purchases of products made in the U.S. Former President Trump also attempted to force the federal government to rely on U.S. manufacturers for procurement with his "Buy American and Hire American" executive order, and in the final days of his administration issued a final rule on buy American provisions for steel and iron, but the future of the rule is uncertain due to a regulatory freeze by the Biden administration. 

According to administration officials, Biden will set a 180-day deadline to deliver on changes to the process. The EO also:

  • Directs agencies to implement stricter measures in how domestic content is measured and increase domestic content requirements. Existing Buy American rules establish a domestic content threshold – the amount of a product that must be made in the U.S. for a purchase to qualify under Buy American law. This Executive Order directs an increase in both the threshold and the price preferences for domestic goods – the difference in price over which government can by a product from a non-US supplier. It also updates how government decides if a product was sufficiently made in America.
  • Appoints a new senior leader in the Executive Office of the President in charge of the government’s Made-in-America policy approach. The new Director of Made-in-America at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will oversee the implementation of this Executive Order, make sure the President’s new rules are followed, work with key stakeholders, and carry through the President’s vision in conjunction with their executive agency partners.
  • Increases oversight of potential waivers to domestic preference laws. This order creates a central review of agency waivers of Buy American requirements. It also directs the General Services Administration to publish relevant waivers on a publicly available website.
  • Connects new businesses to contracting opportunities by requiring active use of supplier scouting by agencies. This Executive Order directs agencies to utilize the Manufacturing Extension Partnership — a national network in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, that supports small and medium-size manufacturers — to help agencies connect with new domestic suppliers.
  • Reiterates the President’s strong support for the Jones Act and its mandate that only U.S.-flag vessels carry cargo between U.S. ports. 
  • Directs a cross-agency review of all domestic preferences. The order requires agencies to report on their implementation of current Made in America laws and make recommendations for achieving the President’s Made in America goals, and to continue to do so on a bi-annual basis. This review includes a requirement that agencies submit recommendations for ways to ensure items offered to the general public on federal property are Made in America — to the fullest extent possible—and to consider service industries in addition to manufacturing.

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