A new executive order from President Trump seeks to reinforce and extend “Buy American” obligations in government purchasing under various laws and guidance, requiring agencies to be more diligent in complying with and enforcing such laws and to identify existing exceptions with an eye to closing them.
Said an official in a briefing explaining the order, “Agencies have their clear marching orders, and they will be held strictly accountable for any failure to fulfill the Buy American mission. As part of this accountability, each agency will conduct a comprehensive top-to-bottom Buy American performance review, including an assessment of the agency’s use of waivers and exceptions, as well as a requirement to provide recommendations to strengthen Buy American.”
Also, “public interest” waivers will now be construed more narrowly; such waivers can now be granted only by agency heads; and agencies now must consider the effect of foreign-subsidized “dumped” goods in the determination of the low bid to a solicitation.
The Commerce Department is to review agency findings and submit a report late in the year to recommend any additional executive and regulatory actions.