Federal infrastructure projects require US steel

Federally funded infrastructure projects in the United States may only use steel that is melted and poured in the US, the Office of Management and Budget for the Biden administration said in a statement on Monday April 18

The administration signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law in November, with the stipulation that “none of the funds made available for a Federal financial assistance program for infrastructure…may be obligated for a project unless all of the iron, steel, manufactured products and construction materials used in the project are produced in the United States.”

Compliance will be enforced by the Made in America Office within the Office of Management and Budget.

Imported slab and billet - which are semi-finished - would not qualify; the guidance states that “all iron and steel used in the project are produced in the United States. This means all manufacturing processes, from the initial melting stage through the application of coatings, occurred in the United States.”

The Washington-based American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) applauded the news.

“We appreciate the commitment of the Biden-Harris administration to ensure that all federally funded infrastructure and public works projects use iron, steel and other products that are made in America,” AISI president and chief executive officer Kevin Dempsey said on Monday.

“As some federal programs do not apply Buy America requirements for the procurement of iron and steel products, we are pleased that today’s initiative begins the process to remedy this situation by providing clear guidance to federal agencies for adopting appropriate Buy America requirements for all federally funded infrastructure projects,” Dempsey added.

The Washington-based Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA) expressed appreciation for the congressional support from Democrats and Republicans alike.

“This announcement demonstrates the administration’s commitment to ensure that federally funded infrastructure projects are built with steel made by Americans for Americans. Clarification and strong enforcement of Buy America domestic procurement preferences will lead to an infrastructure that is made with the cleanest, lowest-carbon-intensity steel in the world,” SMA president Philip Bell said.

“Buy America has bipartisan support, and the American people understand how it contributes to jobs, productivity and a greener environment,” he added.

The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), also based in Washington, was pleased with the Office of Management and Budget’s announcement as well.

“We’re pleased the Biden-Harris administration is moving Buy America policies forward in a manner that will create more job opportunities for our workers,” the AAM said in a statement. “The interim guidance issued today is a key milestone in the broadest expansion of Buy America since its inception, fulfilling the overwhelming demand of American taxpayers by closing loopholes and giving more opportunities to American manufacturing across a range of sectors.”

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