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President Trump Signs Executive Order Amending “Buy American” and “Hire American” Rules Applicable To Federal Procurements

By: Todd M. Garland

Yesterday, President Trump signed an executive order amending “Buy American” and “Hire American” rules applicable to Federal procurements.

The executive order contains four provisions:

  1. Federal government agencies must “buy American and hire American.” To comply with “Buy American Laws,” agencies must “maximize, consistent with law, through terms and conditions of Federal financial assistance awards and Federal procurements, the use of goods, products, and materials produced in the United States.”  The executive order defines “Buy American Laws” as all statutes, regulations, rules, and executive orders relating to Federal procurements or grants for the purchase of U.S. products.

The order also directs Federal agencies to “Hire American.”  Agencies are required to “rigorously enforce and administer” all laws “governing entry into the United States of workers from abroad.”

  1. The administration will conduct a government-wide review and assessment of Buy American Laws. Agencies must “scrupulously monitor, enforce, and comply” with Buy American Laws.  With respect to Federal procurements, the executive order directs agencies to develop policies to ensure maximum “use of materials produced in the United States, including manufactured products; components of manufactured products; and materials such as steel, iron, aluminum, and cement.”
  1. The executive order directs agencies to minimize exemptions from or waivers of Buy American Laws. Specifically, agencies “should . . . ensure the maximum utilization of goods, products, and materials produced in the United States.”  Before granting a waiver, agencies must consider whether foreign-sourced products were “dumped” or otherwise provided in an “injuriously subsidized” manner.  The agency head with authority over the Federal procurement must make the waiver.
  1. The departments of State, Justice, Labor, and Homeland Security must suggest reforms to the H-1B guest worker visa program. The program allows U.S. companies to employ highly skilled foreign workers if U.S. workers are unavailable.  Any reforms must “ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.” 

The full text of the executive order is here