By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The White House on Wednesday released proposed guidance to boost the use of American-made goods in government-funded infrastructure projects.
President Joe Biden in his State of the Union address Tuesday touted the effort to require that construction materials used in federal infrastructure projects be made in the United States.
“When we do these projects … we’re going to buy American,” Biden said. “It’s totally consistent with international trade rule.”
Biden said the new rules will insure the use of U.S.-made “lumber, glass, drywall, fiber optic cables. And on my watch, American roads, American bridges, and American highways are going to be made with American products.”
The new proposed guidance, first reported by Reuters, was released by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and directed by Congress under the $1 trillion 2021 infrastructure law.
The proposed guidance “will strengthen implementation of domestic content standards, while also improving federal financial assistance management, consistency, transparency, and oversight,” said Livia Shmavonian, who runs a White House office aimed at spurring U.S. government purchases of more American goods.
The proposed OMB guidance sets standards to ensure manufacturing processes for construction material occur in the United States, including standards for “plastic and polymer-based products, glass (including optic glass), lumber, and drywall,” Shmavonian added.
The infrastructure law significantly expanded standards to require government-funded infrastructure projects use more American-made iron, steel, construction materials and manufactured products.
OMB is seeking input on whether to include additional construction materials, including paint and stain, bricks and engineered wood products. The public will have 30 days to comment on the proposed guidance.
Biden in his first days in office signed an executive order aimed at closing loopholes in existing “Buy American” provisions, which apply to about a third of the $600 billion in goods and services the federal government buys annually.
Last March, the Biden administration issued rules to raise domestic content thresholds.
Products previously qualified as Made in America for federal purchases if 55% of the value of their component parts are manufactured in the United States. The rule increased the threshold to 60% in October, 65% in 2024, and 75% in 2029.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Jonathan Oatis)