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House Passes Stopgap Bill to Prevent Shutdown
The Hill reported that the House passed a stopgap measure to extend federal government funding until March 11, 2022, to prevent a shutdown next week while negotiations over a longer-term package remain ongoing. The Senate is expected to act swiftly on the legislation. Read more here.
Legislation to Expand Federal Contracting Opportunities Reaches President’s Desk
Nextgov reported that bipartisan legislation aimed at improving government contracting opportunities for small businesses awaits President Biden’s signature following its passage in the House on February 7, 2022. Called the Promoting Rigorous and Innovative Cost Efficiencies for Federal Procurement and Acquisitions, or PRICE Act, the legislation lays out five broad goals for the Department of Homeland Security—improving and encouraging better competition, reducing time to award, achieving cost savings, achieving better mission outcomes and meeting goals for contracts awarded to small business concerns. It further directs the agency to “develop and disseminate guidance and offer training for,” acquisition specialists, and to share best practices with other federal agencies. Read more here.
OMB Nominee Says New Biden Budget Coming in March
Roll Call reported that President Biden is likely to submit his Fiscal Year 2023 budget request shortly after the March 1, 2022, State of the Union address. Plans for a new budget come as Congress is struggling to reach a deal before stopgap funding expires on February 18, 2022. Read more here.
House Passes Sweeping China Competition Bill
The Hill reported that the House passed legislation aimed at bolstering domestic supply chains and scientific research to make the U.S. more competitive with nations like China. A version of H.R. 4521, the America COMPETES Act of 2022, passed the Senate last year. House and Senate leaders will now meet to resolve differences between the two versions of the bill. Read more here. A section-by-section breakdown of the bill is available here, and a related fact sheet is available here.
U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission: 2021 Annual Report
The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission released its 2021 Annual Report to Congress, which includes 32 recommendations on enhancing U.S. national security regarding its trade and economic relationship with China. Read more here.
Supply Chain Security Training and FISMA Overhaul Bills Clear House Committee
Nextgov reported that the House Oversight and Reform Committee unanimously approved efforts to create a program for training the government’s contracting officials and to strengthen the effectiveness of the Federal Information Security Modernization Act. The Supply Chain Security Training Act would task the General Services Administration, in collaboration with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, with creating the training program that would then be implemented through the Office of Management and Budget. Read more here.
Polaris Solicitations for Two Small Business Pools Coming in February
FedScoop reported that the General Services Administration (GSA) expects to issue two requests for proposals for its newest small business IT services contract this month, having only just posted pre-solicitation notices to SAM.gov on January 27, 2022. Specifically, GSA plans to open competition for the Small Business and Women-Owned Small Business pools under the Polaris Governmentwide Acquisition Contract. Polaris replaces GSA’s $15 billion Alliant 2 Small Business Contract and will allow agencies to buy customized IT services and solutions like cloud platforms, cybersecurity, and software development technologies. Read more here.
New Amendments to CIO-SP4
On January 27, 2022, the National Institutes of Health Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC) extended the proposal deadline for the CIO-SP4 contract vehicle. The new deadline for submissions is February 11, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. ET. On February 3, 2022, NITAAC issued Amendment 16, which allows for email submission of revised proposals. Previously, NITAAC had required all contractors to resubmit bids through their third-party iNsight portal. Read more here.
GSA Creates New Opportunities for Small Businesses with 8(a) STARS III Contract Awards
The General Services Administration (GSA) announced that it awarded the second cohort of the 8(a) STARS III Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC). The 8(a) STARS GWACs are known governmentwide as best-in-class, easy-to-use, streamlined procurement solutions to purchase information technology services from 8(a) prime contractors. Read more here.
CMMC Program Moved to the Office of DOD Chief Information Officer
FedScoop reported that oversight of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) program has been moved to the Department of Defense’s Office of the Chief Information Officer. The change comes since the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer for Acquisition and Sustainment, which created and oversaw CMMC from its outset, has been dissolved. Read more here.
DOD Publishes New Software Modernization Strategy
FedScoop reported that the Department of Defense (DOD) recently issued a number of new software policy documents, including a new Software Modernization Strategy, aimed at speeding up the way the military codes. The strategy was accompanied by memos on strengthening cybersecurity with a “continuous Authority to Operate” and the importance of open-source software. Together, the documents aim to push software closer to the center of how DOD does business and wages war with a more collaborative approach to coding across software factories and services. Read more here.
DHS Official to Chair Biden-Ordered Cyber Safety Review Board
Federal Computer Week reported that Rob Silvers, Under Secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Plans at the Department of Homeland Security, will be the first leader of a public-private Cyber Safety Review Board to investigate select incidents. Silvers will chair the board for two years and, in conjunction with the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, appoint no more than 20 total members. The Cyber Safety Review Board stems from an executive order President Biden issued in response to major hacks against IT management firm SolarWinds and Microsoft. Read more here.
Biden Administration Doubles Down on Greener Energy for Agencies
Federal News Network reported that, in seeking to meet the Biden Administration’s goal of running the federal government on carbon pollution-free electricity by 2030, the Department of Defense and the General Services Administration released a request for information to obtain market information and capabilities from vendors and other interested parties. These and other actions from the Biden Administration underscore a full-court press to make its goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across all federal operations by 2050 a reality. Read more here.
SBA Introduces Course in Government Contracting to Online Digital Learning Platform
The Small Business Administration announced the launch of Journey 6 of its Ascent e-learning platform, which is focused on educating women business owners about venturing into government contracting to help expand their businesses. Journey 6 identifies opportunities and prepares businesses to pursue those prospects. Read more here.
DOD Class Deviation: Defense Commercial Solutions Opening
The Department of Defense published a class deviation with updated procedures for the acquisition of innovative commercial products, technologies, and services through commercial solutions openings (CSO). The class deviation rescinds and supersedes Class Deviation 2018-O0016, which initiated the use of CSOs, and outlines steps contracting officers should take to amend CSOs that contain references to Class Deviation 2018-O0016. Read more here.
GSA: Semiannual Regulatory Agenda
The General Services Administration (GSA) published its Semiannual Regulatory Agenda, which provides summary descriptions of regulations being developed by GSA. GSA’s purpose in publishing this agenda is to allow interested persons an opportunity to participate in the rulemaking process. GSA also invites interested persons to recommend existing significant regulations for review to determine whether they should be modified or eliminated. Read more here.
DOD, GSA, and NASA: Semiannual Regulatory Agenda
The Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration published their Semiannual Regulatory Agenda, which summarizes regulations being developed by the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council. The agenda is intended to allow interested persons an opportunity to participate in the rulemaking process. Read more here.
SBA: Semiannual Regulatory Agenda
The Small Business Administration (SBA) published its Semiannual Regulatory Agenda, which summarizes SBA’s current and projected rulemakings and completed actions. The agenda is intended to enable the public to be more aware of and effectively participate in SBA’s regulatory activities. Read more here.
Upcoming Government Contracts Presentations
WEBINAR: Office of Hearing and Appeals (OHA) Year-In-Review: Impactful Decisions from 2021, February 17, Peter Ford and Meghan Leemon. Read more here.
WEBINAR: Joint Ventures – A Roadmap for Small Business Government Contractors, February 22, Lauren Brier and Anna Sullivan. Read more here.
WEBINAR: 2021 Bid Protest Decisions with Far-Reaching Impacts for Government Contractors, February 23, Katie Burrows and Eric Valle. Read more here.
BUSINESS & TRANSACTIONS
Frontier, Spirit Merger Likely to Draw DOJ Scrutiny
The Hill reported that the recently announced proposed merger between Frontier and Spirit airlines is likely to draw scrutiny from the Biden Administration, which has sought to crack down on mega-mergers. Read more here.
LABOR & EMPLOYMENT
Executive Order to Require Project Labor Agreements in Construction Contracts
President Biden signed an executive order that requires the use of project labor agreements (PLAs) on federal construction projects above $35 million. A PLA is a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement with one or more labor organizations that establishes the terms and conditions of employment for a specific construction project. The executive order will apply to projects in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that are direct federal contracts but not to those led by other entities who have been awarded federal grants. Read more here. A related fact sheet is available here.
DOL Announces Plans to Hire 100 Investigators to Support Its Wage and Hour Division’s Compliance Efforts
The Department of Labor announced that its Wage and Hour Division is seeking to add 100 investigators to its team to support enforcement efforts, including the protection of workers’ wages, migrant and seasonal workers, rights to family and medical leave, and prevailing wage requirements for workers on federal contracts. Read more here.
DOL Announces Release of White House Task Force Report on Promoting Worker Organizing, Collective Bargaining
The Department of Labor (DOL) announced the release of a White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment report that details nearly 70 recommendations that promote worker organizing and collective bargaining for public and private sector employees. In response to findings from the report, DOL will work across agencies to implement the task force’s recommendations, including the following:
- ensuring workers know their organizing and bargaining rights;
- collecting and reporting more information on unions and their role in the U.S. economy; and
- advancing equity across underserved communities by supporting worker organizing and collective bargaining.
Read more here.
Upcoming Labor & Employment Presentations
WEBINAR: Service Contract Act Compliance Challenges in a COVID 19 Environment, February 10, Nichole Atallah and Sarah Nash. Read more here.
WEBINAR: Government Contractors: Preparing for OFCCP’s Affirmative Action Program Compliance Certification, February 24, Sara Nasseri. Read more here.