On January 24, 2019, PilieroMazza submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in response to the proposed rule issued on November 29, 2018, RIN 2900-AQ24—VA Acquisition Regulation: Environment, Energy and Water Efficiency, Renewable Energy Technologies, Occupational Safety, and Drug-Free Workplace; Protection of Privacy and Freedom of Information; Other Socioeconomic Programs; and Contract Modifications.
Our comments ask that the proposed rules fully implement VA’s mandate to give contracting priority to SDVOSBs, then VOSBs, then over to all other businesses contracting with the VA. Download our comments.
- VAAR Part 826 Will Be Beneficial, But It Needs Further Clarification
- VA should not use the phrase “shall consider” because this suggests that VA contracting officers have discretion in whether to provide evaluation preferences for SDVOSBs and VOSBs, which they do not. Moreover, it is unclear how that discretion would be exercised if it existed (which it does not).
- The VAAR Must Fully Implement the Vets Act Priority for SDVOSBs and VOSBs
- In light of the above, it is important to emphasize that the Vets Act mandates that there is a preference for VA to award contracts in the following order of priority: (1) contracts awarded to SDVOSBs; (2) contracts awarded to VOSBs that are not SDVOSBs; (3) contracts awarded pursuant to Section 8(a) or Section 31 of the Small Business Act; (4) contracts awarded pursuant to any other small business contracting preference.
- When applying the full and partial credit for SDVOSBs and VOSBs under subsection (b) in a procurement where price is the only factor or that uses a lowest price technically acceptable source selection process as described in FAR 15.101-2, the contracting officer must deem the price offered by a verified SDVOSB to be 10% lower than its proposed price for evaluation purposes. The contracting officer must deem the price offered by a verified VOSB to be 5% lower than its proposed price for evaluation purposes.