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ABC Warns OMB About Downstream Impacts of Buy America Expansion

On March 10, ABC submitted comments on the Office of Management and Budget’s proposed revision of its Guidance for Grants and Agreements, urging the agency to consider supply chain impacts, insufficient implementation information and other negative outcomes as it seeks to expand use of U.S.-made construction components.  

This guidance defines the rules for federal agencies as they distribute funding through grant programs. The revisions would aid implementation of the Build America, Buy America Act provisions of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which expanded domestic content requirements to include a wider range of construction materials.

The U.S. Transportation and Housing and Urban Development departments and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency previously issued transitional Build America, Buy America waivers, but these general waivers have now expired, and the expanded requirements are in effect for these agencies. However, federal agencies continue to face challenges implementing the expanding requirements, with the Federal Highway Administration largely postponing Build America, Buy America Act requirements for electric vehicle chargers until July 1, 2024.

While ABC understands the need to strengthen domestic supply chains, the comments outline the following key concerns regarding Build America, Buy America implementation:

  • Immediate implementation may exacerbate supply chain issues
  • Federal agency staffing may not be sufficient to handle a high volume of waiver requests
  • Additional studies and rulemakings are necessary to ensure informed implementation

Over 400 ABC members submitted concerns regarding the proposed guidance through an action alert through ABC’s Action Center.


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