OMB and the Commerce Department have issued implementing guidance on an April executive order making it the government’s policy to maximize the use of goods, products, and materials produced in the United States in government procurement and financial assistance awards.

OMB Memo M-17-27 states that the government should “maximize, consistent with law, the policy and the statutory mandate to buy domestically manufactured products in its contracts and grants, and minimize use of exceptions and waivers, so that the federal government may optimize the positive impact of these laws for the betterment of United States citizens and taxpayers.”

There remain authorized exceptions such as when suitable products are not available domestically but those “must be carefully monitored” by agency management. Further, while there is “no primary law that imposes domestic sourcing requirements” in federal financial assistance, the laws authorizing that assistance “require careful analysis to determine whether domestic sourcing requirements may be imposed.”

It provides guidance for agencies to carry out the order’s requirement that they report by September 15 to Commerce on their compliance with Buy American laws, saying they should describe their use of exceptions and waivers; the results of any previous internal reviews of compliance; and what they have done to promote those laws, including training of acquisition personnel.

The memo also includes instructions on complying with a requirement to develop and propose policies to maximize use of material produced in the United States through steps such as improved agency-level guidance and procedures.