Approximately 15 months ago, on November 15, 2021, President Biden signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), commonly known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The IIJA is one of the Biden administration’s signature legislative achievements to date and provides $1.2 trillion in funding for a broad range of infrastructure projects. A key part of the IIJA is the Build America, Buy America (BABA) Act, which requires that the head of each covered federal agency ensure that “none of the federal funds made available for a Federal financial assistance program for infrastructure may be obligated for a project unless all of the iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in the project are produced in the United States.” BABA Act at § 70914. The BABA Act required agencies to implement these requirements by May 14, 2022; however, as that deadline came and went, contractors eagerly awaiting opportunities to build the nation’s infrastructure were left wondering how (and when) these requirements would be applied to affected projects.Continue Reading (No Longer) Building a Mystery—Biden Administration Issues Long-Awaited Guidance Implementing BABA Requirements for Infrastructure Projects
Regardless of whether they were eagerly anticipated or begrudgingly unavoidable, the changes promised to the Buy American Act (BAA) early last year have at last arrived, or at least are quickly approaching. On March 4, 2022, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council released its long-anticipated Final Rule implementing important revisions to the BAA provisions of the FAR and incorporating the requirements outlined in President Biden’s January 28, 2021 executive order, “Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers.” Although the Final Rule, for the most part, conforms with the Proposed Rule issued in July 2021 (which we previously discussed here), the most notable aspect may be that the Final Rule’s effective date was delayed until October 25, 2022. This generous gap provides contractors with roughly 235 days to fortify their compliance efforts and ensure that necessary policies and procedures are in place to meet the necessary supply chain and regulatory changes imposed by the Final Rule — well in advance of Halloween.
Continue Reading With Just a Little Ado: Significant Buy American Changes Are Coming Before Halloween
A major pillar of President Biden’s campaign was strengthening the Buy American requirements in procurement law, promising both before and after the election that “[n]o government contracts will be given to companies that don’t make their products here in America.” Five days into office, the President issued an Executive Order designed to bring that promise closer to fruition. As we wrote here, the January 25, 2021 Executive Order directed both dramatic changes to domestic preference regulations and increased enforcement of existing requirements through a variety of means. Now, seven months later, amendments to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) are being proposed by the Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration—collectively, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council—to implement, at least in part, President Biden’s Executive Order (Proposed Rule).
Continue Reading Enhanced Buy American Requirements Coming Soon; Proposed Rule Foretells Big Changes
After 15 months of quarantines, restrictions, and mandatory home schooling, summer 2021 is luring with escape and excitement across the country. We all hope for beach days and reunions with loved ones as we (hopefully) paddle toward normalcy once again. However, before setting up the “out-of-office” auto-replies and heading for the sand and surf, Government contractors interested in the implications of the Biden Administration’s January 25, 2021 Executive Order on Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers (EO) will want to take note of a June 11, 2021 Memorandum from the Office of Management and Budget on Increasing Opportunities for Domestic Sourcing and Reducing the Need for Waivers from Made in America Laws (Memorandum). This Memorandum outlines the wave of changes the Made In America Office (MIAO) is poised to make over the summer of 2021 as it begins to implement the mandates of the EO.
Continue Reading Catching Waves: OMB Issues New Implementation Guidance for Biden Administration Buy American Executive Order
As COVID-19 antibodies begin flooding the immune systems of most Americans, it is important to remember the important role that hygiene has played over the past fifteen months. For many, the risks and dangers of the pandemic were kept at bay by hand washing, masking, and sanitizing after every new touch. That same kind of attention to hygiene is something federal contractors should retain as they are permitted to reenter a world filled with supply chain enforcement risk.
Continue Reading Prevention v. Cure: Supply Chain Hygiene Is the Key to Defending Enforcement
“Now, the next part is very important…”
As scrutiny of domestic preference requirements increases in the wake of the Biden Administration’s Executive Order on Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers, the time is now for contractors to brush up on those requirements, examine supply chains to identify non-domestic content, and implement internal policies and procedures to ensure they are compliant with the domestic preference rules applicable to their contracts. On May 20, 2021, the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced a settlement under which a contractor agreed to pay $54,983 and implement “enhanced compliance measures” to resolve claims arising from its use of Chinese-made parts during a fire alarm installation and renovation project at Amtrak’s 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, PA. While the settlement amount is relatively minimal, the settlement is remarkable in that it telegraphs that funding agencies, along with the Department of Justice (DOJ), are willing to go to great lengths to be a nightmare for suppliers that do not adhere to the “Buy America” statutes and regulations.Continue Reading I Will Find You: DOJ Uses Its Particular Set of Skills to Enforce Domestic Preference Rules
Each year, Congress presents us in Title VIII of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) a potpourri of procurement reforms, changes, and additions. Some are effective immediately, while some are bound for rulemaking and regulation and surface years from enactment. Some require analyses, reports, and studies which have no immediate impact but provide a roadmap that can and should be used by government contractors in their business planning. Finally, some provisions of the NDAAs just wither away and have no impact whatsoever. Nineteen days before the Trump Administration ended, the US Senate followed the US House of Representatives in overriding the President’s veto of the William (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (H.R. 6395) (FY2021 NDAA), making it law on January 1, 2021. Happy New Year! As for its Title VIII, the FY2021 NDAA is no different from its predecessors in its procurement potpourri. Here’s a tour of key provisions you oughta know.
Continue Reading Here to Remind You of the Key Provisions of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act – You Oughta Know!