Bidding Adieu To The "Summer of Recovery": Changes To ARRA Buy American And Reporting Requirements

While Vice President Biden was busy touting Summer 2010 as the “Summer of Recovery” and the economic effects of the February 2009 Stimulus Act (a.k.a. the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Recovery Act, ARRA, the Stimulus Act, etc.), the gears of the regulatory process ground steadily onward. Throughout the summer, the White House Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) issued updated policy guidance implementing the ARRA requirements, and the rule-makers in the FAR Councils remained hard at work updating and (hopefully) finalizing the regulations implementing the finer details of the Recovery Act. Despite the fact that the ARRA funding officially expired on September 30, 2010 (meaning that any unobligated ARRA funds will now revert to the federal treasury to be saved or spent another day), the Government spent its summer fine-tuning the regulations. As the sun begins to set on the Recovery Act, and as the Summer of Recovery fades into the past, we summarize here some of the key features of the final Recovery Act rules promulgated over the last few months.

Changed “Buy American” Requirements

Subject to certain exceptions, Section 1605 of the Recovery Act prohibits use of iron, steel, or manufactured goods in Recovery Act-funded projects when those products were not “produced” in the United States. In Spring 2009, the FAR Councils and the OMB published regulations applying the Section 1605 restrictions to ARRA-funded construction projects. While there were a few minor updates to these provisions over the last several months, the most significant revisions were finally published on August 30, 2010, with an effective date of October 1, 2010. See 75 Fed. Reg. 53153.

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