January 25, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order (EO) “Ensuring the Future is Made in All America by All of America’s Workers”, which seeks to bolster U.S. manufacturing through the federal procurement process. Note that, just six day earlier, on January 18, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Counsel issued a final rule implementing former President Trump’s July 2019 EO, titled “Maximizing Use of American-Made Goods, Products, and Materials” (EO No. 13881) on the then-current Buy American standards. For context, Trump’s proposed revisions – adopted and implemented by the FAR Council earlier this year – imposed three (3) significant changes worth noting: (1) increasing the percentage of domestic content (other than iron or steel) from 50% to 55% that an end product must contain in order to qualify as a “domestic end product”; (2) implementing an even higher increase in the domestic content requirement for iron and steel products to at least 95% U.S. “predominately” iron or steel product; and (3) increasing the price evaluation preference for domestic offerors from 6% to 20% (for other than small business) and 30% (for small businesses). The FAR’s rule became effective January 21, 2021, and applies to solicitations issued on or after February 22, 2021, and resulting contracts let. Biden’s EO rescinds Trump’s EO No. 13881 “to the extent inconsistent with [Biden’s] EO.” However, when dissected, it is clear Biden’s Buy American plan does little to modify thresholds inconsistent with the Trump Administration; rather, the White House’s latest EO implements changes in the form of BA administration. Nonetheless, Biden’s EO does expressly note that it supersedes and replaces Trump’s EO on the same issues.
Biden’s Buy American Policy & What it Means for Contractors
February 22, 2021
Meredith Thielbahr & Nicole Lentini - Gordon & Rees Construction Law Blog
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