The New Made in America Requirements for Federal Grants and Contracts

Box with Made in America stamped on the sides

On January 25, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order (EO) that ensures that the future is made in America by all Americans. In fact, the full title is “Executive Order on Ensuring the Future is Made in America by All Americans.”

The EO places conditions on future federal financial assistance (grants and cooperative agreements) and federal procurement to maximize the use of goods, products, and materials produced in the US and services offered in the US.

It was crafted to help American businesses compete in “strategic industries,” help American workers thrive, and promote accountable and transparent procurement policies. Interestingly, any federal agency that authorizes waivers from this policy should do so after approval by senior agency leadership. 

Just as interesting is the requirement that agency officials review actions that are inconsistent with this policy and consider suspending, revising or rescinding those actions.

Other highlights of the EO include:

  1. The requirement that the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) establish a Made in America Office within the OMB and that the director of this new office is appointed by the OMB Director. 
  2. Before a federal agency grants a waiver, the agency should provide the Made in America Director with a description of the proposed waiver and a detailed justification of why the products or goods were not manufactured, mined, or produced in the US. Be sure to read the subsections on the content, timing, publication, review process, and disputed outcomes of waiver requests.
  3. The creation of a public website where proposed waivers and the outcomes of waiver requests will be published.
  4. Agencies are directed to conduct supplier scouting to identify American companies, including small- and medium-sized companies that can meet federal procurement needs.
  5. Promotion of the Buy American Act of 1933 through solicitation of public comments on applicable provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation and issuance of a final rule.
  6. A review of existing constraints on the requirements in Made in America laws on applicable information technology products and services.
  7. Within 180 days of the EO, each agency is to report on its implementation of and compliance with Made in America laws with a written description of how its waivers are consistent with the EO.
  8. Ensure the implementation also applies to products offered to the general public on federal property.
  9. Revokes five prior EOs or sections of prior EOs.

One quick update to the EO worth noting is that federal agencies were given a June 30, 2021 deadline to name a senior accountable official who will ensure adherence to the EO. 

Visit WhiteHouse.gov to read the full EO and to learn more about Celeste Drake, the Director of the OMB’s new Made in America office.