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Biden to require infrastructure projects be made with U.S. iron, steel


WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is directing federal agencies to ensure that new construction projects funded by the $1.2 billion infrastructure package are made with U.S.-made materials.

In 17 pages of guidance on Monday, the Office of Management and Budget instructs federal agencies to make sure that by mid-May, any projects to build or repair roads, bridges, water pipes or even broadband internet are made with domestic products, including iron and steel.

“This means all manufacturing processes, from the initial melting stage through the application of coatings, occurred in the United States,” the guidance says of the metals requirement.

Agencies must also ensure that the bulk of components of any manufactured products used in the construction projects are made in the U.S.

Government agencies can obtain waivers for the requirements if it’s found that procuring the products domestically isn’t in the public’s interest, that quantities of the materials aren’t “sufficient and reasonably available … or of a satisfactory quality,” or that the U.S.-sourced materials would raise the cost of the project by more than 25 percent, the guidance says.

The new guidance is part of the administration’s moves to implement the infrastructure law, which President Joe Biden signed in November. It’s also part of Biden’s strategy to alleviate supply chain issues in the U.S. amid the Covid pandemic and inflation.

During the previous administration, then-President Donald Trump hit European countries with steep tariffs on steel and aluminum products, which raised prices on those materials in the U.S. At the G-20 summit in October 2021, Biden announced that the U.S. had reached a deal to reverse those tariffs.

Shannon Pettypiece contributed.

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