The Biden Administration issued another executive order, this one focusing on the application and enforcement of the Buy America Act. As the name indicates, the Buy America Act is intended to increase the amount of American goods used on and in government contracts. President Biden’s executive order focuses on enforcement and the administration of the Act.
The most significant change created by the executive order is to create a Made in American Office (MAO) to better oversee the enforcement of the Buy America Act and the granting of waivers. The MAO will review and approve all waivers, create a checklist of information the MAO must have before approving any waivers; and make the waiver requests accessible on public websites. While perhaps a laudable goal, this will of course increase the amount of paperwork necessary for compliance and the amount of time to obtain a waiver.
The new MAO website that should allow contractors to search previous waiver requests and decisions. This may help contractors support their waiver requests by pointing to previous agency decisions where similar waiver requests were granted.
Finally, the executive order makes a number of recommendations to the FAR Council to be considered in the next 180 days. This could lead to a number of changes in how the Buy American Act is enforced. We will share any significant changes the FAR Council pursues.
If you have questions about your participation in the Buy America Act, we recommend you contact an attorney experienced in dealing with this Act and the underlying regulations.