As 2019 comes to a close, the government is setting its short- and long-term goals for 2020. On December 26, 2019, a number of federal agencies released their regulatory agendas for the upcoming year, including the Department of Defense (DoD), the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council (which consists of DoD, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the General Services Administration (GSA)). Many regulatory agenda items could impact government contractors and small businesses, so keep these rulemakings in mind as you head into 2020. Here are our highlights.

DoD noted that the following regulations are in the Final Rule Stage:

1.      Prompt Payments of Small Business Subcontractors
2.      Nonmanufacturer Rule for 8(a) Participants

SBA included a number of upcoming regulatory actions in its agenda at various stages of the rulemaking process:

1.      Pre-Rule Stage (for each area listed below, SBA’s review is focusing on current regulations and whether they should be continued without change, amended, or rescinded to minimize adverse economic impacts on small entities, with an emphasis on continued need, comments received, complexity, overlap with other regulations, and the effects of technology and economic conditions)

a.       8(a) Business Development
b.       Government Contracting Programs
c.       HUBZone Program 
          ·       PilieroMazza coverage of the HUBZone Program is available here and here.

2.      Proposed Rule Stage

a.       Small Business Development Center Program Revisions
b.       Small Business Size Standards

3.      Final Rule Stage

a.       Small Business Size Standards: Calculation of Annual Average Receipts
          ·       PilieroMazza coverage of this rulemaking is available here.

b.       Small Business Size Standards: Adjustment of Monetary Based Size Standards for Inflation
          ·       PilieroMazza coverage of this rulemaking is available here.

c.       National Defense Authorization Acts of 2016 and 2017, RISE After Disaster Act of 2015, and Other Small Business Government Contracting Amendments
          ·       PilieroMazza coverage of this rulemaking is available here.

4.      Long-Term Actions

a.       Small Business Size Standards; Alternative Size Standard for 7(a), 504, and Disaster Loan Programs

The FAR Council also included numerous items on its regulatory agenda for revisions to the FAR:

1.      Proposed Rule Stage

a.       Applicability of Small Business Regulations Outside the United States
b.       Controlled Unclassified Information
c.       Policy on Joint Ventures
d.       Increased Micro-Purchase and Simplified Acquisition Thresholds
e.       Definition of Subcontract
f.        Modifications to Cost or Pricing Data and Reporting Requirements
g.       Rights to Federally Funded Inventions and Licensing of Government-Owned Inventions
h.       Exemption of Commercial and COTS Item Contracts From Certain Laws and Regulations
i.         Increasing Task-Order Level Competition
j.         Lowest Price Technically Acceptable Source Selection Process
k.       Revision of Definition of ‘‘Commercial Item’’
l.         Review of Commercial Clause Requirements and Flowdown
m.     Good Faith in Small Business Subcontracting
n.       Update of Historically Underutilized Business Zone Program
o.       Small Business Program Amendments
p.       Maximizing Use of American-Made Goods, Products and Materials

2.      Final Rule Stage

a.       Set-Asides Under Multiple Award Contracts
b.       Whistleblower Protection for Contractor Employees
c.       Revision of Limitations on Subcontracting
d.       Requirements for DD Form 254, Contract Security Classification Specification
e.       Evaluation Factors for Multiple-Award Contracts
f.        Credit for Lower-Tier Small Business Subcontracting
g.       Update to Contract Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS)
          ·       PilieroMazza coverage of the CPARS is available here and here.

While these agencies may not achieve all their 2020 goals, it appears that a host of regulatory changes are on the horizon. To weigh in and help shape this process, government contractors (especially small businesses) should keep these regulatory rulemakings in mind throughout 2020 and be prepared to submit comments as agencies propose new regulations in the Federal Register. If you have questions about how to submit comments or need help drafting comments, please reach out to a member of PilieroMazza’s Government Contracts Group.

Tim Valley, the author of this blog, is a member of the Firm’s Government Contracts and Small Business Programs & Advisory Services practice groups.