A $1 trillion 2021 infrastructure law got an extra buffer added to it by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This guidance advises that new government-funded infrastructure projects should use materials made in the United States.
The White House OMB was granted the Made in America office (MIAO) with the signing of Executive Order 14005, Ensuring the Future is Made in America by All of America’s Workers, by President Biden after taking office. The office designs “Made in America” policies, manages waivers to the Act, and provides market intelligence for domestic supply chains.
Build America, Buy America Act
The Build America, Buy America Act requires all iron, steel, manufactured products, and other construction materials to be produced in America. Manufactured products must be made in the United States, and 55% or more of the value of the constituent elements must be American in origin. These include materials like glass, drywall, cables, and more.
Exceptions can only be made by the head of a Federal agency and only after the public gets to voice their opinion about it for 15 days. These requirements apply to new infrastructure projects created after May 14, 2022, and do not apply to older proposals already in place. They also do not currently apply to non-infrastructure projects or consumable materials such as tools, temporary covers, and others.
What’s the key to enacting this decree? Finances. The Build America, Buy America Act states that no federal funds will be provided for helping with infrastructure projects unless those materials mentioned above come from American suppliers.
The US government purchases about $600 billion in goods and services annually. About one-third of that falls under the “Buy American” provisions. Materials like plastic, glass, iron, steel, and other construction goods made on American soil will be the first choice when outfitting new projects for our roadways and more.
In President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on 7 February 2023, he stated, “And on my watch, American roads, American bridges, and American highways are going to be made with American products.” So far, he’s followed through on that claim.
The Higher Aim
The goal rings higher than simply purchasing more American goods. The cycle of effect, in turn, moves to create more jobs. Specifically, the Biden administration has reported about 800,000 new jobs in manufacturing since the beginning of 2021.
American manufacturing jobs have been among the worst to suffer in the past 50 years, peaking in 1979, then dropping drastically to a dreadful low in 2010. Since then, there has been a steady recovery, but nowhere near the 19.6 million strong the industry was decades ago.
With these offices and acts in place, our manufacturing sectors may very well be the thing that drags the US economy out of the trenches. In the words of President Biden, “American manufacturing is back, folks. American manufacturing is back.” Especially after the hit taken after the COVID-19 pandemic, we have a long way to go. The Build America, Buy America Act is a great place to start.