PilieroMazza’s Weekly Update is an e-mail sent on Fridays that recaps legislative and regulatory issues affecting businesses of all sizes. When government agencies propose significant changes to existing regulations or Congress passes legislation of special interest to the small business community, we follow-up the Weekly Update with an analysis of the proposed change and the likely impact on small business.

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Weekly Report June 23, 2017

SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION

“SBA Ignite Tour Blazes Across the Country.” Small Business Administration Press Release, June 21, 2017. Retrieved from sba.gov.
Administrator Linda McMahon announced that she will visit more than 60 cities as part of the SBA Ignite Tour, a national outreach campaign aimed to listen, educate, and advocate for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Administrator McMahon visited Las Vegas, Nevada on June 20 and visited Salt Lake City, Utah on June 21, 2017. Additional cities this summer include: Pittsburgh, Puerto Rico, Seattle, Portland, Anchorage, Detroit, and Milwaukee.
 

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING

“Improving Compliance with the Berry Amendment and Buy American Act.” Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Memoranda, June 20, 2017. Retrieved from acq.osd.mil.
The Department of Defense (DOD) released a memorandum in which it provides agency guidance to Executive Order 13788, Buy American and Hire American. The memo states that four previous audits of DOD contracts identified where regulations implementing the Berry Amendment and Buy American Act were neither applied nor properly justified. In light of the noncompliance activity and the recent executive order, the memo announces updates to DOD learning modules for the Berry Amendment and Buy American Act. Further guidance regarding implementation of the executive order is forthcoming.
 

CAPITOL HILL

“Senate, House Small Business Committees Lead on Strengthening Cybersecurity Defenses.” U.S Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship Press Release, June 22, 2017. Retrieved from sbc.senate.gov.
The U.S. Senate and House Small Business Committees introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to improve cybersecurity resources for small businesses. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Cyber Training Act aims to leverage the existing education programs provided by the SBA. Specifically, the Act would require a portion of SBDC employees to become certified in cyber strategy counseling.
 

OTHER NEWS

“Four Agencies Try to Reverse Years of Industry-Government Communication TarTar." Federal News Radio, June 19, 2017. Retrieved from federalnewsradio.com.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is about to hold its fourth Reverse Industry Day on June 28 in Washington, D.C. as part of its Acquisition Innovation in Motion (AIiM) initiative. In an effort for government to better understand what they are asking to buy, Reverse Industry days are becoming more popular among agencies, such as IRS, DOD, and GSA. These industry days are some of the ways government is trying to innovate and improve the acquisition process.
 
“Pentagon Turns to DAVE for More Efficient Buying.” NextGov, June 20, 2017. Retrieved from nextgov.com.
 The DOD relies more frequently on DAVE, the Defense Acquisition Visibility Environment, to aid in acquisition decision making. DAVE is an application programming interface-driven and analytics-fueled acquisition reporting system that provides program managers and senior executives better spending information.
 

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Weekly Report June 16, 2017

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING

“GSA Adds Hundreds of Small Businesses to the 8(a) STARS II GWAC Contract.” GSA Press Release, June 15, 2017. Retrieved from gsa.gov.

The GSA 8(a) STARS II Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (“GWAC”) recently added approximately 500 qualified industry partners during an Open Season. The Open Season enables GSA to continue its support of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (“SBA”) 8(a) Business Development Program and assist agencies in meeting their small business goals. With over 3,200 task order awards and $5.3 billion in sales since 2011, the 8(a) STARS II GWAC provides an abundance of opportunities for small businesses.

GSA anticipates issuing a “Notice to Proceed” for the Open Season awards in the near future. For more information, visit the 8(a) STARS II GWAC website.


“Class Deviation from the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to remove the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces final rule (FAR Case 2014-025).” Acquisition.gov, CAAC Letters, June 12, 2017. Retrieved from acquisition.gov.

The General Services Administration (“GSA”) released a memorandum in which it provides agency and contracting officer guidance to Executive Order 13782, Removal of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Final Rule (Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) Case 2014-025). The memorandum explains that, while the rulemaking is underway to amend the FAR, agencies should not wait for the formal rescission of the rule, as it is null and void. Furthermore, the memorandum states that no solicitations and contracts dated after January 1, 2017 should have included the following provisions or clauses: FAR 52.222-57, 52.222-58, 52.222-59, 52.222-61, and paragraph (s) of the provision at 52.212-3. Executive Order 13782 rescinds the requirement for federal contractors to disclose compliance with labor laws, paycheck transparency, and arbitration clauses for sexual harassment, sexual assault, and discrimination claims.


CAPITOL HILL


The National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) for Fiscal Year 2018 was introduced in the House on June 7, 2017, and referred to the House Committee on Armed Services. Presently, there is one provision that affects small businesses under Title VIII – Acquisition Policy, Acquisition Management, and Related Matters. Section 801 proposes to repeal an NDAA FY17 provision that allowed certain Department of Defense (“DOD”) contractors not to be subjected to government audits of their indirect
costs. The intent of the NDAA FY17 provision was to enable more competition by non-traditional, small business, and commercial contractors. However, the manner in which the criteria were written also would benefit some of the largest DOD contractors. Removing government audits of procurements by large DOD contractors would affect the government acquisition system, such as how pricing rates are established on other contract types. Legislation can be retrieved from congress.gov.


“Small Business Committee Approves Five Bipartisan Bills to Improve the SBA.”
Small Business Committee Press Release, June 15, 2017. Retrieved from smallbusiness.house.gov.

The House Small Business Committee approved five pieces of legislation to amend the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act:
1. H.R. 2763 reinforces SBA reporting requirements of the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs.
2. H.R. 2594 ensures small business federal contractors get paid sooner on change orders by requiring federal agencies to make interim partial payments to contractors.
3. H.R. 2333 increases the amount of capital made available to small business investment companies (“SBIC”).
4. H.R. 2364 increases the amount that financial institutions may invest in SBICs, increasing the limit up to 15% of their holdings to SBICs.
5. H.R. 2056 will raise the microloan lending limit from $5 million to $6 million and provide flexibility to the 25/75 rule, which restricts the amount of pre-loan technical assistance a microloan intermediary can offer to its small business.


OTHER NEWS


“AWS Unveils New Region for Government Customers.” NextGov, June 13, 2017. Retrieved from nextgov.com.

Cloud provider Amazon Web Services (“AWS”) will create a new East Coast computing region built specifically for U.S. government customers. AWS GovCloud (US-East) is expected to become operational in 2018, according to Teresa Carlson, Vice President of AWS Worldwide Public Sector. The new computing region would meet the government customer compliance requirements, including FedRAMP, ITAR, DOD impact levels 2-4, IRS 1075, and others. The closer proximity of AWS GovCloud (US-East) could prove attractive for DOD and military customers, as the nature of their sensitive data sets tends to prefer closer locales.

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Weekly Report June 9, 2017

SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
 
Rules of Procedure Governing Cases Before the Office of Hearings and Appeals
 
The U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) has amended the rules of practice of its Office of Hearings and Appeals (“OHA”) to implement section 869 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 and section 1833 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017. This legislation authorizes OHA to decide Petitions for Reconsideration of Size Standards (“Size Standard Petitions”). This rule also revises the rules of practice for OHA appeals of agency employee disputes.  This rule is effective on July 3, 2017.
 
Applicability Date: Size Standard Petitions pertaining to size standards revised, modified, or established in a final rule published during the interval between November 25, 2015, and July 3, 2017 shall be considered timely if filed within 30 calendar days of July 3, 2017.  82 Fed. Reg. 25503.
 
LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT
 
US Secretary Of Labor Withdraws Joint Employment, Independent Contractor Informal Guidance, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR NEWS RELEASE (June 7, 2017) https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/opa/opa20170607
 
U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced the withdrawal of the U.S. Department of Labor’s 2015 and 2016 informal guidance on joint employment and independent contractors.  Removal of the administrator interpretations does not change the legal responsibilities of employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, as reflected in the department’s long-standing regulations and case law. 
 

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Weekly Report May 23, 2017

OTHER NEWS SBA

Administrator Linda McMahon Appoints Four Senior Executives, SBA PRESS RELEASE (May 25, 2017)

Administrator Linda McMahon of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced the appointment of four new Associate Administrators: Peter Cazamias for the Office of International Trade; Robb Wong for the Office of Government Contracting and Business Development; Allen Gutierrez for the Office of Entrepreneurial Development; and Michael Hershey for the Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs.

In a statement Ms. McMahon said:
I am thrilled to welcome four Associate Administrators to our team here at SBA. We are continuing to bring talented, accomplished individuals onboard so our agency always operates in the most efficient, effective way possible. Each of our new Associate Administrators brings a breadth of knowledge, expertise and experience

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Weekly Report May 19th, 2017

DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

Proposed Rule to Revise and Streamline VA Acquisition Regulation To Adhere to Federal Acquisition Regulation Principles


The Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) is proposing to amend and update its VA Acquisition Regulation (“VAAR”), to revise or remove any policy that has been superseded by changes in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”), to remove any procedural guidance that is internal to the VA, and to incorporate any new regulations or policies. This proposed rule will correct inconsistencies, remove redundant and duplicate material already covered by the FAR, delete outdated material or information, and appropriately renumber VAAR text, clauses, and provisions where required to comport with FAR format, numbering, and arrangement. Comments are due on, or before, July 17, 2017. 82 Fed.Reg. 22635.

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