A headshot picture of Corinna Petry smiling
From the Editor
By Corinna Petry
Domestic Content

he Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum April 18 date outlining the federal government’s initial implementation guidance on the application of Buy America preferences in federal financial assistance programs for infrastructure. The OMB gave agencies until May 14, 2022, to ensure that all applicable programs comply with section 70914 of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, including by incorporating a Buy America preference in the terms and conditions of each award with an infrastructure project.

Under the law, all iron and steel used in the project must be produced in the United States. This means all manufacturing processes, from melting stage through the application of coatings, occurred in the United States.

All manufactured products used in the project must be produced in the United States. This means the product was manufactured in the United States, and the cost of the components of the manufactured product that are mined, produced or manufactured in the United States is greater than 55 percent of the total cost of all components of the manufactured product, unless another standard for determining the minimum amount of domestic content has been established under applicable law or regulation.

All construction materials must be manufactured in the United States. This means that all manufacturing processes for the construction material occurred in the United States.

all iron and steel used in the project must be produced in the united states.
Waivers from the rule can be sought by the agencies if they find that: applying the domestic content procurement preference would be inconsistent with the public interest; the types of iron, steel, manufactured products or construction materials are not produced in the U.S. in sufficient and reasonably available quantities or of a satisfactory quality); or if their inclusion will increase the cost of the overall project by more than 25 percent.

All waiver requests must include a detailed justification for the use of goods, products or materials mined, produced or manufactured outside the United States and a certification that there was a good faith effort to solicit bids for domestic products supported by terms included in requests for proposals, contracts, and nonproprietary communications with potential suppliers.

Before granting a waiver in the public interest, agencies must assess whether a significant portion of any cost advantage of a foreign-sourced product is the result of the use of dumped steel, iron or manufactured products or the use of injuriously subsidized steel, iron or manufactured products. Agencies may consult with the International Trade Administration in making such assessments.

“This [guidance] demonstrates the administration’s commitment to ensure that federally funded infrastructure projects are built with steel made by Americans for Americans,” stated Philip K. Bell, president of the Steel Manufacturers Association. “Clarification and strong enforcement of Buy America domestic procurement preferences will lead to an infrastructure that is made with the cleanest, lowest carbon intensity steel in the world.”