The appointment of Celeste Drake to the newly created position of Made in America Director within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was announced on April 27, 2021. This is a key step by the Biden Administration in implementing the President’s January 25, 2021, Executive Order (E.O.) titled Ensuring the Future is Made in All of America by All America’s Workers. Drake joins the Administration from the Directors Guild of America (DGA), where she served as the Executive in Charge of Government Affairs, advocating for labor union members. Prior to joining the DGA, Drake served as the Trade and Globalization Policy Specialist for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

The E.O. tightens the waiver process by requiring that all waivers issued by Federal Agencies under various Buy America(n) statutes and laws be submitted with justification to the Made in America Director for final review and approval. This could potentially impact waivers requested under the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Fund Programs and the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program. Before any Federal Agency grants a waiver (and unless the OMB Director provides otherwise), the Agency must provide the Made in America Director with a description of its proposed waiver and a detailed justification for the use of goods, products, or materials that have not been mined, produced, or manufactured in the United States.

Drake’s office is required to publish a list of the information Federal Agencies must include when submitting descriptions of proposed waivers and justifications to the Made in America Director and publishing a deadline, not to exceed 15 business days, by which the Director of OMB, through the Made in America Director, either will notify the head of the agency that the Director of OMB, through the Made in America Director, has waived each review or will notify the head of the agency in writing of the result of the review. Waiver requests and final decisions will also be posted to a publicly-available website. A copy of the E.O. can be found HERE.