Domestic Preference Rules

On Friday, March 20, 2020, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued Memorandum No. M-20-18, titled “Managing Federal Contract Performance Issues Associated With The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).”  The Memorandum, directed to the heads of all Executive Departments and constituent federal agencies, provides key guidance on maintaining continued contract performance while respecting the need to protect the safety of the contracting community during this unprecedented time.  The critical aspects of the Memorandum, accompanied by a contractor “To Do” list, are as follows:

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The spread of the COVID-19 virus and the unprecedented steps taken by federal, state and local authorities to contain it by shutting down or significantly altering normal business operations pose great challenges to government contractors in meeting the needs of their universal customer, the U.S. Government.  Work spaces are closed.  Supply chains are disrupted.  Key employees may no longer be available to oversee critical operations – both on and off U.S. Government installations.  Here are some proactive measures that contractors can take now to avoid loss and to maximize the potential of obtaining new business opportunities created by the expected exponential increase in government spending:

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The Trump administration’s focus on enhancing “Buy American” requirements in federal procurement took a leap forward on July 15, 2019, with the issuance of an Executive Order (EO) on Maximizing Use of American-Made Goods, Products, and Materials. Unlike the administration’s previous executive orders – Executive Order 13788 of April 18, 2017 (Buy American and Hire American) and Executive Order 13858 of January 31, 2019 (Strengthening Buy American Preferences for Infrastructure Projects), this EO contains instructions to the FAR Council to change regulations that have been in place since the Eisenhower administration, tightening restrictions on acquiring foreign end products.  In particular, the EO makes dramatic changes to the domestic origin requirements for iron and steel products.

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