Building Operating Management

Controversy, Confusion Over Buy-American Clause

By Greg Zimmerman, Executive Editor   Green

OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Stimulus Funds Earmarked to Green Government FacilitiesPt. 2: Recovery Act Funds Energy Efficiency Grants For State, Local Projects Pt. 3: This Page

Section 1605 of the Recovery Act requires that, for stimulus-funded public projects, “all of the iron, steel and manufactured goods…be produced in the United States.” With only a few other clauses and qualifications that may waive the provision, there’s not much more guidance in this Buy-American clause. And for that reason, Buy-American has turned into one of the more controversial and confusing parts of the Recovery Act. What if, for instance, an American air-handler manufacturer uses foreign-made steel, but assembles the product in the United States?  According to the letter of Buy-American, that would eliminate that product from being used in stimulus-funded building projects. So, for that reason, many American companies have actually been eliminated by the Buy-American provision.   

Many product manufacturers, confounded and angered by what exactly the provision can include, have asked the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for further clarification. Cynthia Vallina, deputy associate administrator for procurement at OMB, speaking at a recent educational session, asked for patience and promised that further guidelines for compliance are being developed.  

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  posted on 1/26/2010   Article Use Policy

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