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President Trump Takes Action to Support Buy America

Last week, President Trump took two actions to support Buy America. On Tuesday, the President signed an executive order instructing all federal departments and agencies to conduct comprehensive assessments aimed at strengthening the Buy America Program. The President wants to minimize waivers and exceptions that give foreign steel unfair advantages in government procurement. Notably, the President affirmed the “melted and poured” standard for domestic steel, as we and other supporters of Buy America have urged. The White House press release is here.

On Thursday, the President signed a Presidential memorandum prioritizing an investigation by the Secretary of Commerce into whether steel imports threaten national security. The report will examine the effects of steel imports on national security and jobs, government revenues, and economic welfare. If the report concludes that steel imports threaten U.S. national security, the President would be allowed under law to take action to eliminate the threats. The White House press release is here.

These two strong actions in support of Buy America make it much less likely the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will adopt the Buy America waivers it proposed in October. The waivers, discussed here and here have been pending action since December 2, 2016, when the comment period closed. There is no timeline for FHWA to make a decision, though it should also be noted that FHWA is not likely to take any action until a new Administrator is in place.

We urge you to check back on this website for updates on Buy America Program issues, which we follow closely.