Proposed Revisions to Buy American Act Must Aim to Reduce Contractor Burden

On Oct. 28, ABC submitted comments to the U.S. Departments of Defense, General Services Administration and National Aeronautics and Space Administration to urge the agencies to clarify several aspects of the proposal and provided recommendations to reduce the burden and costs for federal contractors to comply with the Buy American Act. The comments were filed in response to the agencies’ notice of proposed rulemaking to strengthen the requirements for goods, products and materials to be considered American-made for federal and federally assisted projects.

In accordance with President Biden’s Executive Order 14005, Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America's Workers, DOD, GSA and NASA issued a proposed rule to amend the regulations implementing the Buy American Act and increase the current percentage of materials produced in the United States, otherwise known as domestic content, in final components to comply with the act. Specifically, the agencies propose increasing the domestic content threshold initially from 55% to 60%, then to 65% in 2024 and finally to 75% in 2029.

Recommendations included creating a more flexible reporting process for a contractor’s reporting obligations after the contract is awarded, not applying new threshold requirements to current or multiyear contracts and providing contractors with clear, concise guidance and educational resources to assist in their compliance.

Additionally, with the proposed creation of the Made in America Office, which aims to streamline certain aspects of the act, such as the waiver process, ABC urged the agencies provide explicit details on how the office will streamline this and other processes and reduce costs for federal contractors.   

ABC will continue to provide updates on this rulemaking in Newsline.