By David S. Gallacher

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. 
 

Continue Reading Bidding Adieu To The “Summer of Recovery”: Changes To ARRA Buy American And Reporting Requirements

By David S. Gallacher

On March 25, 2010, the Office of Management and Budget ("OMB") offered three small, yet significant, amendments to the rules implementing the "Buy American" requirement of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Section 1605 of the "Recovery Act" or "ARRA"). See 75 Fed. Reg. 14323. The new rules do liberalize the requirement – at least a little bit – allowing increased flexibility in delivering products from Canada and Taiwan under State or local construction projects funded by the Recovery Act. But be aware that these new amendments are prospective – if you already have a contract funded by the Recovery Act, you will more than likely need to modify your contract to take advantage of these new revisions (assuming you are able). If you are pursuing future business opportunities funded by the Recovery Act, then you may be able to take advantage of the new rules. Easy, right? Not exactly. If you have to deal with these issues in real life, your head is probably already spinning. Let’s sit down and talk for a minute. 
 

Continue Reading Recovery Act and Updates to “Buy American”

Nearly one year ago on February 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Pub. L. No. 111-5), more commonly known as the Stimulus Act, the Recovery Act, or ARRA. One of the key features of the Act included a "Buy American" requirement, requiring domestically manufactured "iron, steel, or manufactured goods" to be used in Recovery Act funded projects (located at Section 1605 of the Act). This requirement has proven to be a collossal headache for vendors supporting Recovery Act projects and has also proven to be immensely complicated for the good men and women in Government (including those at the State and local levels), who are faced with the task of figuring out how, where, and when the Recovery Act Buy American requirement applies. 
 

Continue Reading Six Questions To Ask In Figuring Out Whether The Recovery Act Buy American Requirement Applies To You

Effective January 1, 2010, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), Ronald Kirk, published new dollar thresholds determining the applicability of the Buy American Act (BAA), the Trade Agreements Act (TAA), and (potentially) other "Buy American" preferences to the United States’ various international free trade agreements. See 74 Federal Register 68907 (December 29, 2009). The changes to the dollar thresholds are effective through the end of 2011, so it is doubtful that we will see any additional escalation until 2012. 
 

Continue Reading New 2010 Updates to Buy American and Trade Agreements Dollar Thresholds; Buy American Requirements Remain Elusive and Complicated

In early July, we discussed that fact that Taiwan would soon be an approved country of origin for purposes of the Trade Agreements Act.  This was, in our view, good news and a welcome development.


Continue Reading The Moment of Truth Has Arrived — “Made In Taiwan” Now Qualifies Under the TAA

As part of the much ballyhooed Stimulus Act signed into law on February 17, 2009 (discussed in detail here), Congressman Lawrence “Larry” Kissell (D-NC) introduced an amendment titled, “the Berry Amendment Extension Act,” which placed domestic source restrictions on the purchase of certain fabric and textile products by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”). See Pub. L. No. 111-5, § 604 (codified at 6 U.S.C. § 453b).


Continue Reading DHS Publishes New Rules Expanding Berry Amendment to Most DHS Procurements

The Administration has conceded that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“ARRA”) has not worked as planned. With unemployment numbers continuing to climb, the Administration now acknowledges it “misread the economy.” But from the beginning not everyone believed ARRA would achieve the desired stimulative effect. After all, $787 billion cannot be disbursed without some complication.
 

Continue Reading The President Admits the Stimulus Is Not Working as Hoped. Well, Duh.

On June 16, 2009, Taiwan (aka Chinese Taipei) took the penultimate step in acceding to the World Trade Organization’s Government Procurement Agreement (WTO GPA), which will eventually grant Taiwan "free trade partner" status under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and allow companies selling to the U.S. Government to deliver products that are manufactured in Taiwan. The accession process is expected to be complete by July 15, 2009. After that date, and once the FAR is updated accordingly, "Made in Taiwan" will finally be an approved country of origin for products and services delivered to the U.S. Government.
 

Continue Reading Country of Origin – “Made In Taiwan” Will Soon Be TAA Compliant China Continues to Dawdle Costa Rica, Peru, and Oman also Recognized

On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Pub. L. No. 111-5), known popularly by a variety of names, including “ARRA,” the “Recovery Act,” and the “Stimulus Act.” We have previously discussed many of the provisions relating to the Recovery Act at some length, especially the implementing regulations that were recently published this spring.
 

Continue Reading Recovery Act Update -U.S. Stimulus: “Buy American” PRC Stimulus: “Buy Chinese” Canada and WTO: “Not Pleased”

On March 31, 2009, the FAR Councils issued several new interim rules (effective March 31, 2009) implementing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5) (also known as ARRA, The Recovery Act, or the Stimulus Act). See Federal Acquisition Circular (FAC) 2005-32, published at 74 Federal Register 14621-14652. The FAC issued new interim rules on a number of areas required under the Stimulus Act, including:

  • Reporting Requirements for Recipients of Recovery Funds (see 74 Federal Register 14639) 
     
  • Publicizing Contract Actions (see 74 Federal Register 14636) 
     
  • GAO and IG Access to Company Employees (see 74 Federal Register 14646) 
     
  • Whistleblower Protections (see 74 Federal Register 14633) 
     
  • Buy American Requirements for Construction Materials (see 74 Federal Register 14623)
     

This blog focuses on the final three sets of rules – those relating to Auditor access; Whistleblower protections; and Buy American requirements. The first set of rules is discussed separately here.
 

Continue Reading New Recovery Act Rules Implement Provisions Relating To Government Audit Access, Whistleblower Protections, And Buy American Requirements; Much Confusion Remains