White House Provides Guidance on “Made in America” Executive Order

By Susan Kayser and Lauren Burke

On June 11, 2021, the White House issued initial guidance on how President Biden’s January 25, 2021 “Executive Order on Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers” (“Order”) will be implemented.  The Order aims to ensure that the federal government is spending taxpayer money on American-made goods, by American workers, and with American-made component parts.  This is significant considering the nearly $600 billion the federal government spends annually. 

The “Made in America Office” (MIAO) established by the Order is within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  The MIAO will review any exceptions from or waivers of Made in America Laws filed by government agencies.  The renewed focus on “Made in America” as implemented by the MIAO will likely influence enforcement of Made in America claims as well.

The June White House guidance outlines four areas of implementation and timelines:

  1. Senior Accountable Officials – By Summer 2021, agencies must designate a Senior Accountable Official (SAO) who will work with the MIAO to implement an approach to advance the policy goals of the Order, including that the US government should “procure goods, products, materials, and services from sources that will help American businesses”.
  2. Agency reports – By July 24, 2021, agencies must provide initial and semi-annual reports on compliance with Made in America Laws and the Order.  The reports should highlight the steps the agency is or will be taking to increase domestic suppliers, describe the consistency of submitted waivers, analyze whether the agency’s waivers accomplish the missions of the Order and the agency, and include the status of any review of the agency’s acts inconsistent with the Order’s policies.
  3. Agency-OMB waiver review – Under the Order, agencies must provide a waiver for any exception from Made in America Laws for MIAO review.  The guidance specifies the information that agencies must include in waivers such as why the waiver is necessary and any actions that can be taken to avoid the need for the waiver.  Agencies are encouraged to keep waiver requests to a minimum.  The waiver process should begin in the fiscal year 2022.
  4. Waiver transparency – Under the Order, the Administrator General of Services must develop a public website including all information on proposed agency waivers and whether those waivers have been granted.  This website aims to be operational by the early fiscal year 2022.

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