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The Biden administration is announcing a new, proposed rule that federal officials say marks "the most robust changes to implementation of the Buy American Act in almost 70 years."
Signed in 1933, the Buy American Act requires the federal government to only purchase goods determined to be at least 55% manufactured in the United States. The new proposed rule, which the administration will seek comment on for the next two months before publishing an official rule change, would immediately increase the domestic component threshold to 60% and gradually increase the threshold to 75% over the next decade.
The proposed rule marks "just the first set of proposed reforms to procurement policy under the Biden-Harris administration to ensure taxpayer dollars help American businesses compete in strategic industries and help American workers thrive," according to administration officials.
"With $600 billion in annual procurement spending, almost half of which is in manufactured products from helicopter blades to trucks to office furniture, the Federal government is a major buyer in a number of markets for goods and services, including the single largest purchaser of consumer goods in the world," a White House release announcing the proposed rule states.
"Leveraging that purchasing power to shape markets and accelerate innovation is a key part of the Biden industrial strategy to grow the industries of the future to support U.S. workers, communities, and firms. As the pandemic has demonstrated, federal procurement can strengthen the resiliency of domestic supply chains, and reduce the risk of Americans being adversely impacted by the actions of competitor nations during a time of crisis."
Senior administration officials told reporters Tuesday night the rule proposes two other actions in addition to the component threshold increases. The first is including a set of "enhanced price preferences for purposes of bid evaluation for select products or components."
"As the pandemic demonstrated all too painfully, disruptions in the supply chain for critical products from semiconductors to medical supplies for our health, our national security, and our economic security," one official noted.
The final proposed change would strengthen rules governing transparency and accountability over the federal government's purchases.
"New reporting requirements for critical products and components will improve data on the amount of domestic content in federal purchases," one official noted. "This will help bolster compliance with the existing law, and provide policymakers with greater data, to allow future rule-making to strengthen Buy American's ability for workers and businesses and communities across America."
The officials noted the third rule change is significant, as they do not currently have the proper data to ensure all government agencies and vendors are currently complying with the Buy American Act.
The officials also recognized the Trump administration published a final rule change directing the federal government to make similar Buy American adjustments but claimed the Biden administration's rule "goes far beyond that work and represents one of the largest changes to Buy American in 70 years."
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Original Author: Christian Datoc