A June 30 memo from the Office of Management and Budget provides new guidance on how federal agencies should enforce such laws, asking them to limit exemptions and calling for them to draft policies to maximize the procurement of U.S. products, specifically mentioning steel, iron, aluminum and cement.
An earlier memo from the Pentagon's top acquisitions office instructs federal contractors to put in place a training program on how to comply with the 80-year-old laws.
The documents come as President Trump has vowed to put American interests first as he rewrites the nation’s trade agenda. The White House published an April 18 “Buy American” executive order focused on limiting the use of waivers and ending what it considers to be unfair trade practices. It is also weighing broader restrictions on steel and aluminum imports.
At a time when the president’s other major initiatives are held up in Congress and in the courts, changes to Defense Department acquisition policy might be seen as an easier path to enact change.
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