On June 6, ABC responded to the Office of Management and Budget’s request for information on new “Buy America” requirements for construction materials on federally assisted projects. Enacted in November 2021, the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act expanded and made significant changes to Buy America requirements for federally funded infrastructure projects.
The IIJA requires the following Buy America preferences and broadens the preferences to include nonferrous metals, such as copper used in electric wiring; plastic- and polymer-based products; glass, including optical fiber; and certain other construction materials, such as lumber and drywall:
(1) All iron and steel used in the project are produced in the United States. This means all manufacturing processes, from the initial melting stage through the application of coatings, occurred in the United States.
(2) All manufactured products used in the project are produced in the United States. This means the manufactured 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% of the total cost of all components of the manufactured product, unless another standard for determining the minimum amount of domestic content of the manufactured product has been established under applicable law or regulation.
(3) All construction materials are manufactured in the United States. This means that all manufacturing. processes for the construction material occurred in the United States.
ABC’s letter urged the OMB to carefully study and seek extensive public comment on these requirements prior to implementation. While ABC supports strategies to expand domestic jobs and manufacturing to avoid global supply chain disruptions and capture economic benefits within America, Buy America requirements must be balanced with safeguards against increased costs and delays of infrastructure projects funded by taxpayers. ABC’s letter highlighted these key points:
- The construction industry faces significant supply chain challenges.
- Multiple federal agencies have already provided six-month Buy America waivers.
- The OMB should consider agency staffing needs for an expected high volume of waiver requests.
- Separate rulemakings for each construction material would lead to more effective implementation.
ABC will continue to monitor implementation of Buy America requirements and participate in the regulatory process.