As I sat down to write this article, the final rule for the Guidance for Grants and Agreements from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) had been posted on the Federal Register (FR) with a 60-day notice to take effect October 23, 2023. (whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/REV_2-CFR-Guidance-Pre-publication-version-8.13.pdf)
The Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) has been constantly monitoring the issues involved with the Build America, Buy America (BABA) rule in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), and have been keeping the membership informed on actions and requests for comments so every member could provide commentary to the requests based on the individual corporate positions.
We posted this FR notice online back in August to help our members digest and clarify how this rule affects their businesses. Shortly after the release of the OMB guidance, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released its clarification of a limited waiver of Buy America requirements for de minimis costs and small grants (federalregister.gov/documents/2023/08/16/2023-17602/waiver-of-buy-america-requirements-for-de-minimis-costs-and-small-grants) becoming effective on any projects after August 16, 2023.
This establishes that the threshold for noncompliant products is no more than the lesser of $1 million or 5% of total allowable costs. As a reminder, all involved with federally funded project (any agency) should review and determine their own clarity of these documents. GMA will continue to closely monitor and distribute any request for comments, actions and/or decisions as they are posted.
As a part of GMA’s access to the discussions and commentary that have been occurring around the BABA clarifications, much of our access has been created by our continued legislative lobbying work in Washington, D.C., and multiple states. Our fall 2023 Lobby Days will be held November 14–15. If you would like to have a direct voice into the actions and changes occurring in the federal government, join us for Lobby Day to meet with your congressional delegation (bring good walking shoes!). Registration details can be found on the GMA website (gmanow.com).