AGC Buy America Administrative Action

AGC and coalition allies file an administrative action to address the Administration’s opaque and unbalanced Buy America Build America Act implementation that risks delays and cost increases for housing, transportation, water infrastructure projects, and more.

On February 15, AGC of America—along with the American Public Transportation Association, American Road and Transportation Builders Association and National Association of Home Builders—filed an administrative action with the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to address its opaque and unbalanced Buy America Build America Act (BABAA) implementation.

In its filing, the trade groups note continued uncertainty surrounding the waiver process. The Buy America provisions allow for these exceptions if domestically made products are unavailable or significantly more costly. However, under executive order, OMB must review the hundreds of waiver requests made to federal agencies each year.

While OMB has a 15-day target for these reviews, the process often proves to be lengthy and unpredictable as the politics of these waivers can lead to bureaucratic inertia. For example, the Illinois Department of Transportation submitted a waiver on May 21, 2021, that was not posted for public comment until more than two years later, on August 28, 2023. Such uncertainty with the waiver process threatens project delays, cost increases, and even project cancellations.

The associations recommend that OMB should focus on implementing the requirements at a generalized level and empower federal agencies with broad discretion to fill in the details and waiver approval. They also urged federal officials to create a database listing construction materials and products that are BABAA compliant.

For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at [email protected].


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