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White House Issues Guidance on Buy America Implementation


The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has presented a roadmap outlining the application of the Build America, Buy America provisions of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The Buy America Act stipulates that construction materials used on federal infrastructure projects must be made in the United States.

Previously, Buy America focused primarily on Steel and Iron and only covered certain federal projects. The expanded guidance in the IIJA adds three products to the Buy America list: composite building materials, fiber optic cable and optical fiber. The provisions now impact all federally funded infrastructure projects and applies to the entirety of a project, regardless of whether it receives funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or from multiple federal and non-federal sources.

According to the proposed guidelines, a product can be considered as made in the United States if the cost of its components that are domestically mined, produced, or manufactured exceeds 55% of the total cost of all components. Additionally, construction materials having certain criteria qualify them for Buy America. The materials include:

  • Non-ferrous metals.

  • Plastic and polymer-based products.

  • Composite building materials.

  • Glass.

  • Fiber-optic cable.

  • Optical fiber.

  • Lumber.

  • Drywall.

The OMB has requested input on its suggested guidelines and has posed a series of inquiries concerning different definitions, processes, and standards. The organization is also inquiring whether it should expand the scope of Buy America to include additional construction materials, such as engineered wood products, brick, paint, stains, and other coatings.

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