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PilieroMazza was honored with the “Business Partner of the Year” award which was presented by the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce on November 9, 2023. The award recognizes PilieroMazza for consistently demonstrating a deep understanding of the unique challenges facing government contractors and for providing invaluable legal advice and counsel to clients ranging from emerging startups to established corporations. The firm’s commitment to education, advocacy, and client success positions it as a trusted partner to the business community. Read more here.
“Off the Shelf” Podcast: PilieroMazza’s Jon Williams Addresses Top Concerns for Small Business Government Contractors in 2023 and Beyond, PilieroMazza News, Jon Williams
Jon Williams, a partner in PilieroMazza’s Government Contracts Group, was a featured guest on Federal News Network’s “Off the Shelf” podcast, “Small Business Contracting: A Year In Review,” which provided an update on key concerns for contractors related to small business policy, as well as regulatory and legal trends shaping the federal market. Please visit this link to access the podcast. Read more here.
Biden Signs Temporary Spending Bill that Heads Off a Government Shutdown, NPR
President Biden signed a short-term government funding bill on November 16, 2023, avoiding a potential government shutdown and pushing into next year debates about wartime funding for Ukraine and Israel. Biden’s approval came a day after the Senate overwhelmingly approved the stop-gap spending bill. The measure, designed by new House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., funds four federal agencies until January 19, 2024, and the rest until February 2, 2024. The goal is to give Congress more time to negotiate long-term spending bills. Read more here.
Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council Final Rule: New Designated Country North Macedonia
On November 14, 2023, the FAR Council issued this Final Rule amending the FAR to add North Macedonia as a new designated country under the World Trade Organization Government Procurement Agreement. The Rule is available here and is effective as of November 14, 2023.
Department of Defense (DOD) Final Rule: Inapplicability of Certain Laws and Regulations to Commercial Items
DOD issues this Final Rule to amend the DFARS to address the inapplicability of certain laws and regulations to the acquisition of commercial products, including commercially available off-the-shelf items, and commercial services. The Rule is available here.
Small Business Administration (SBA) Notice of Meeting of the Interagency Task Force (IATF) on Veterans Small Business Development
On November 15, 2023, SBA announced the meeting of the IATF on Veterans Small Business Development. The IATF is established pursuant to Executive Order (EO) 13540 to coordinate the efforts of federal agencies to improve capital, business development opportunities, and pre-established federal contracting goals for small business concerns owned and controlled by veterans and service-disabled veterans. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss efforts that support veteran-owned small businesses, updates on past and current events, and the IATF’s objectives for fiscal year 2024. The meeting will be held on December 6, 2023, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET via Microsoft Teams. The Notice is available here. Comments will close December 1, 2023. Additional information is available here.
General Services Administration (GSA) Proposed Rule on Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) Economic Price Adjustment
GSA proposes to amend the GSA Acquisition Regulation (GSAR) to standardize and simplify the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) clauses for economic price adjustments. The Rule removes certain economic price adjustment requirements within these clauses to better align with commercial standards and practices. The Rule is available here. Comments close January 15, 2024.
White House Press Release: Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Better Contracting Initiative (BCI) to Save Billions Annually
On November 8, 2023, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the BCI to ensure better terms and pricing when the government purchases goods and services. The BCI also ensures the government is deliberate about whom it purchases goods and services from, including small and disadvantaged businesses. Read more here.
Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report: Small Business Subcontracting, Some Contracting Officers Face Challenges Assessing Compliance with the Good Faith Standard
On November 9, 2024, GAO released a report which examines (1) how contracting officers assess contractors’ compliance with the good faith standard, (2) the extent to which they find contractors noncompliant, and (3) the benefits and challenges associated with good faith standard assessments. GAO’s recommendations include: (a) agencies periodically review data on contractors’ small business subcontracting goal performance, (b) SBA incorporate agency-level data in its annual report to Congress, and (c) SBA analyze the risk of conducting a limited number of compliance reviews. Most agencies agreed with the recommendations, but DOD and SBA partially concurred. While DOD and SBA proposed some corrective actions, the actions do not fully address GAO’s recommendations. Read the full report here. More information is available here.
Upcoming Government Contracts Presentations
PilieroMazza is proud to announce it is listed among the Best Law Firms® in Washington, DC, in the following practice areas: Construction Law, Litigation – Construction, and Litigation – Labor & Employment. Each year, Best Law Firms® recognizes outstanding law firms for their exceptional legal expertise, professionalism, and commitment to client success. Jessica duHoffmann and Nichole Atallah—partners in the Firm’s Construction and Labor & Employment practice groups, respectively—were also distinguished in the 30th edition of The Best Lawyers in America®. Read more here.
Construction Groups Fight DOL’s New Davis-Bacon Rule, Law360
Associated Builders and Contractors and the Associated General Contractors of America urged Texas federal courts to halt the Department of Labor’s enforcement of a final rule over prevailing wage rates for federal construction projects, arguing the agency is exceeding its power. Read more here (subscription required).
Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council Notice and Request for Comments, Architect-Engineer Qualifications (SF-330)
This Notice covers the information that offerors must submit to comply with Standard Form (SF) 330, Architect-Engineer Qualifications. As specified in FAR 36.702(b), an architect-engineer firm must provide information about its qualifications for a specific contract when the contract amount is expected to exceed the simplified acquisition threshold (SAT). The Notice is available here. Comments close December 14, 2023.
GSA Plans $2 Billion in Cleaner Construction Projects, Government Executive
The General Services Administration is committing $2 Billion in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act to support a series of construction projects using lower-carbon materials. Read more here.
Substantive cybersecurity amendments to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) are underway, significantly altering the duties and obligations of federal government contractors both prior to award and during contract performance. The FAR Council issued an Interim Final Rule implementing Section 202 of the Federal Acquisition Supply Chain Security Act of 2018 (FASCSA), as well as a 2021 Final Rule (Final Rule) granting the Federal Acquisition Security Council (FASC) authority to issue orders excluding or removing goods or services from the supply chain that were deemed prohibited (FASCSA Order(s)). To avoid contract termination and False Claims Act liability, government contractors should understand what FASCA Orders are, where to find them, and what to do if they (or a subcontractor at any tier) are providing them to the government. Read more here.
NIST Tweaks Proposed Security Guidelines for Sensitive Info, Law360
On November 9, 2023, the National Institute of Standards and Technology issued a final draft of proposed updated guidelines for contractors and other entities who handle sensitive federal information, saying it took feedback to make guidance clearer. Read more here (subscription required).
Five Things to Watch as Pentagon Prepares to Issue CMMC Rule, Federal News Network
CMMC is intended to provide the Defense Department with a way to assess whether tens of thousands of contractors in its industrial base are meeting cybersecurity requirements for protecting controlled unclassified information (CUI) on their networks. Read more here.
Defense Firms Can Take Steps Now to Comply with Enhanced Cyber Standards, Industry Officials Say, NextGov/FCW
DOD’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) program, which first went into effect in 2020, established baseline security requirements for the more than 70,000 firms that do business with the Pentagon. The proposed final rule for the more rigorous cyber requirements, known as CMMC 2.0, is expected to be released in late November for public comment. Read more here.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Notice of Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Cybersecurity Advisory Committee Meeting
The CISA Cybersecurity Advisory Committee will hold an in-person meeting on December 5, 2023, to discuss current CISA Cybersecurity Advisory Committee activities. The open session will include: (1) a period for public comment, (2) subcommittee updates, deliberation, and vote, (3) a discussion on the CSAC’s strategic focus for 2024, and (4) an overview of the CSAC’s annual report. The Notice is available here.
New CISA Guide Focuses on Issuance of Software Vulnerability Exploitability Notices, ExecutiveGov
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency worked with software and other IT experts to formulate a guide to help organizations decide when to issue a vulnerability exploitability exchange (VEX) information. Read more here.