Dept of Education Tribal Consultation on ANE and BABAA
August 23 @ 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm CDT
Date: August 23, 2022
Time: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time
On August 23, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) will conduct Tribal Consultation on two different topics. The first topic will examine questions and solicit responses on how to offer renewed support for the Department’s Alaska Native Education program (ANE). The purpose of this portion of the consultation will be to receive meaningful input on the Department’s administration of the ANE program. The second topic for discussion is to engage with Tribal authorities for the purpose of obtaining their perspectives regarding the Department’s implementation of Build America, Buy America Act (BABAA) requirements. This consultation will advance the Department’s commitment to uphold the federal trust responsibility as described in Executive Order 13175.
Alaska Native Education
Section 6302 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 states, “It is the policy of the Federal Government to maximize the leadership of and participation by Alaska Natives in the planning and the management of Alaska Native education programs and to support efforts developed by and undertaken within the Alaska Native community to improve educational opportunity for all students.” Consistent with this statement, we welcome your input and feedback on the U.S. Department of Education’s administration of the Alaska Native Education program as it relates to the following questions.
- What priority(ies) would improve the overall design, delivery, and quality of grant projects funded under the Alaska Native Education program?
- What suggestions do you have for strengthening the Alaska Native Education program, as authorized under Section 6304 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965?
- How can the U.S. Department of Education improve its online resources for Alaska Native Education program grantees?
- What suggestions do you have to improve the annual performance reporting process for Alaska Native Education grantees?
- What type of technical assistance could the U.S. Department of Education provide to address application-related barriers that cause hardship for potential applicants?
- How could the U.S. Department of Education increase the number of peer reviewers how have experience with Alaska Native education and Alaska generally?
Build America, Buy America Act
On November 15, 2021, the President signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act P.L. 117-58 (IIJA) into law. This bipartisan investment in America’s infrastructure will fund approximately $1.2 trillion in upgrading and revitalizing America’s roads, bridges, railways, waterways, broadband, and other critical infrastructure. A component of the IIJA is the Build America, Buy America Act (Division G, Title IX of the IIJA) (BABAA), which requires Federal agencies to identify their existing financial assistance programs that are infrastructure programs. On March 17, 2022, the Department published a list in the Federal Register (87 FR 15210) that identified 38 Department-administered grant programs as infrastructure programs subject to the BABAA domestic sourcing requirements, i.e., programs that allow for construction and broadband infrastructure. BABAA requires that all recipients under these identified programs ensure, generally, that all the iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials funded by these programs are made in the United States (see section 70914 of BABAA).
Specifically, for grants funded under programs the Department has identified as infrastructure programs, BABAA requires that: (1) all the iron and steel used in the infrastructure project will be produced in the United States; (2) the manufactured products used in the infrastructure project will be produced in the United States; and (3) the construction materials used in the infrastructure project will be produced in the United States.
After review and a public comment period, the Department may waive BABAA requirements when (1) applying the preference would be inconsistent with the public interest; (2) types of iron, steel, manufactured products, or construction materials are not produced in the United States in sufficient and reasonably available quantities or of a satisfactory quality; or (3) the inclusion of iron, steel, manufactured products, or construction materials produced in the United States will increase the cost of the overall project by more than 25 percent. BABAA requires that implementation begin 180 days after the passage of IIJA, or May 14, 2022; however, on July 13, 2022, the Department implemented an adjustment period waiver, which allows the Department to finalize implementation effective October 1, 2022.
Listed below are the Department-administered grant programs subject to the BABAA requirements, effective October 1, 2022, that are more likely to award grants to Tribes or Tribal organizations:
- Alaska Native Education (Assistance Listing Number 84.356A)
- American Indian Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (Part F) (ALN 84.031D)
- American Indian Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (ALN 84.031T)
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Part B
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Part C
Since the enactment of the IIJA, the Department has worked diligently towards implementation, and as it works during the waiver adjustment period on policy, procedures, guidance, and grantee and Department staff trainings, it would like to engage with Tribal authorities for the purpose of obtaining their perspectives regarding the Department’s implementation of BABAA requirements. This engagement is important to ensure that Tribal perspectives are reflected, as appropriate, within the Department’s final implementation. Thus, the Department is seeking the following information:
- How can the Department assist Tribes in implementing the BABAA requirements?
- What barriers do Tribes anticipate they might face when implementing these BABAA requirements?
- What Tribe-specific processes and/or policy positions do Tribes recommend the Department consider as it develops its BABAA implementation policy, procedures, and guidance, including with respect to waivers?
- What other recommendations do Tribes propose the Department consider as it finalizes its BABAA policy, procedures, and guidance?