OMB Finalizes Guidance For Implementing BABA in Federal Grants and Agreements

On August 14, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the pre-publication of the Agency’s final revisions to the Guidance for Grants and Agreements. The guidance implements the statutory requirements under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for Build America, Buy America (BABA) preferences for Federal financial assistance, including preferences for American-made steel and iron products, manufactured products, and construction materials. The final guidance:

  • Clarifies existing provisions related to domestic preferences;
  • Provides further guidance on implementing the statutory requirements to improve Federal financial assistance management and transparency;
  • Provides clear and consistent guidance to Federal agencies about how to apply BABA requirements to Federal awards for infrastructure projects;
  • Includes definitions for key terms, including iron or steel products, manufactured products, construction materials, and materials such as aggregates and cement;
  • Offers standards that define “all manufacturing processes” in the case of construction materials;
  • Restates the circumstances defined in statute under which a waiver for BABA requirements may be justified; and
  • Outlines the process that Federal agencies should implement to allow recipients to request waivers.

ASDWA provided comments after the proposed revisions were released in February of this year. The association noted concerns with the workload that EPA staff will face as the Agency works to provide product-specific waivers under BABA. Additionally, ASDWA’s letter asked for clarifications and additional information for many of the definitions included in the guidance. The guidance will be effective 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register. Additional information from OMB can be found here.