Elected officials in Washington, DC appear to have identified one topic that both parties can agree on—strengthening domestic content requirements on federal projects. In February 2021, we alerted contractors not only to Buy American Act changes previously implemented by the Trump administration but also to the potential changes addressed in a Biden administration executive order. Holding true to its word, the Biden administration recently issued a proposed rule that would make additional changes to an already complicated legal framework. Below are the key takeaways for contractors.
Continue Reading Contractor’s Guide to Biden’s Buy American Act Changes: Buy More (and More and More) American

The Biden administration seems to be doubling down on the application and enforcement of the Buy American Act with the president’s January 25 executive order. While former President Trump’s order focused on increasing domestic material percentages, President Biden’s order focuses on oversight, enforcement, and access to information.

The first part of President Biden’s order establishes a Made in America Office (MAO) to increase oversight of Buy America and Buy American waivers. Buy America gives preference to the use of domestic materials on federal contracts that relate to transportation, and Buy American generally requires the use of domestic construction materials on any federal construction project. MAO will oversee both Buy America and Buy American and will be responsible for several new changes, including:
Continue Reading Biden’s Buy American: More Oversight and More Information

Co-authored by Michael H. Payne and Craig A. Schroeder

On February 17, 2009, the President signed Public Law 111-5, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (also known as “ARRA,” the “Recovery Act,” and the “Stimulus Act”), including a number of provisions to be implemented in Federal Government contracts.  The Recovery Act’s purposes are to stimulate the economy and to create and retain jobs. The Act gives preference to activities that can be started and completed expeditiously, including a goal of using at least 50 percent of the funds made available by it for activities that can be initiated not later than June 17, 2009.

An Interim Rule issued on March 31, 2009, implements section 1512, which is also known as the “Jobs Accountability Act.”  Subsection (c) of section 1512 requires contractors that receive awards (or modifications to existing awards) funded, in whole or in part, by the Recovery Act to report quarterly on the use of the funds. The comment period on the interim rule expires on June 1, 2009. In addition, a new section was added to the FAR, subpart 4.15, “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – Reporting Requirements,” and a new clause was added to implement the reporting requirements, FAR 52.204-11.   Contracting Officers are now required to include the new clause in solicitations and contracts funded in whole or in part with Recovery Act funds, except classified solicitations and contracts.  Commercial item contracts and Commercially Available Off-The-Shelf (COTS) item contracts are covered, as well as actions under the simplified acquisition threshold.

Effective March 31, 2009, five (5) interim Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) rules went into effect that implement several requirements of the Recovery Act. See Federal Acquisition Circular (FAC) 2005-32, published at 74 Fed. Reg. 14,639 (Mar. 31, 2009). These new rules only apply to federal procurement contracts funded with stimulus money. Their goal is increased transparency and accountability in the spending of Stimulus Act funds. The new rules include:

1. Reporting Requirements for Recipients of Recovery Funds (See 74 Federal Register 14639);

2. Publicizing Contract Actions (See 74 Federal Register 14636);

3. GAO and IG Access to Company Employees (See 74 Federal Register 14646);

4. Whistleblower Protections (See 74 Federal Register 14633); and

5. Buy American Requirements for Construction Materials (See 74 Federal Register 14623).

Each rule is discussed, in turn, below.

1. Reporting Requirements for Recipients of Recovery Funds

This is the most onerous of the new requirements and contractors must now file quarterly reports documenting their use of stimulus funds. See FAR Case 2009-009, Interim Rule, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the Recovery Act)— Reporting Requirements, 74 Fed. Reg. 14,639 (Mar. 31, 2009).  Information on the Recovery Act may be found on the Recovery Act website.

The new mandated contract clause, FAR 52.204-11, which must be included in all contracts receiving stimulus funds, requires the prime contractor, and first-tier subcontractors, to report the following information:

(i) Contract and order number;

(ii) Amount of stimulus funds invoiced by the contractor for the reporting period;

(iii) List of significant supplies delivered or services performed;

(iv) Assessment of the contractor’s progress on the contract;

(v) Employment impact of the contract (e.g., an estimate of the number of jobs      created and retained);

(vi) The names and compensation of the five most highly compensated officers of the contractor for the calendar year in which the contract is awarded if the contractor receives 80 percent and $25 million or more of its annual gross revenues from federal awards and the public does not have access to the information through periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Internal Revenue Service; and

(vii) Detailed information on first-tier subcontracts.

Reporting on invoices submitted prior to June 30, 2009 are due no later than July 10, 2009.   After those dates, contractor reports must be submitted no later than the 10th day after the end of each calendar quarter. The new reporting requirements apply to all solicitations and contracts funded in whole or in part with Recovery Act funds, except classified solicitations and contracts. This includes Government-wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs), multi-agency contracts (MACs), Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contracts, or agency indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity (ID/IQ) contracts that will be funded with Recovery Act funds.Continue Reading The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009: What it Means for Federal Construction Contractors