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Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council Notice:  Small Business Size Rerepresentation

On February 1, the General Services Administration, Department of Defense, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration published a Notice and request for comments about the information contractors must submit to comply with FAR 52.219-28, Post-Award Small Business Program Rerepresentation. This clause requires contractors that originally represented themselves as a small business for a contract award to rerepresent their size and socioeconomic status at the prime contract level by updating their representations in the Representations and Certifications section of the System for Award Management (SAM). Contractors must also notify the contracting officer by email, or otherwise in writing, that the rerepresentations have been made, and provide the date they were made. The Notice is available here. Comments close April 1, 2024.

OFPP Expands Small Business ‘Rule of Two’ to Multiple Award Contracts, Federal News Network

With spending against governmentwide acquisition contracts reaching an all-time high in fiscal 2023, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy is pushing agencies to make changes to ensure a healthy amount of small businesses participate on these vehicles. Read more here.

Small Business Administration (SBA) Press Release: Business Leaders Applaud SBA’s Improved Empower to Grow (E2G) Program
Business leaders across the country join SBA in support for the agency’s slate of major improvements to the agency’s popular 7(j) Management and Technical Assistance program. These changes – launched under a new name, Empower to Grow (E2G) – include significant upgrades to the program’s core services and are designed to deliver on the SBA’s commitment under the Biden-Harris Administration to advance equity in federal procurement. Read more here.

General Services Administration (GSA) News Release: New FAS Catalog Platform is a “Game-Changer” for Vendors Using GSA Advantage

After months of successful user testing in a pilot, the U.S. General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service is rolling out a new platform to manage vendor catalogs on GSA Advantage!, GSA’s central purchasing website. The new FAS Catalog Platform significantly improves how Multiple Award Schedule contractors upload, manage, and access their catalogs while also saving time and effort. Read more here.

Biden’s Pick for Pentagon’s S&T Position Pledges to Reduce Barriers to Entry for Small Businesses, Federal News Network

Aprille Ericsson, President Joe Biden’s nominee to be the assistant secretary of defense for science and technology, told lawmakers that streamlining processes for small businesses to engage with the Pentagon will be her top priority if confirmed. Read more here.

General Services Administration (GSA) Notice: GSA Acquisition Regulation, Prohibition on Certain Supply Chain Services or Equipment Under Lease Acquisitions and Commercial Solution Openings

On February 1, GSA published a Notice and request for comments regarding the implementation of (1) the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 of lease acquisitions and commercial solution openings, which prohibits agencies from procuring, obtaining, extending or renewing a contract with contractors that will provide or use covered telecommunication equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as a critical technology as part of any system on or after August 13, 2020, unless an exception applies; and (2) the supply chain risk information sharing and exclusion or removal orders consistent with the Federal Acquisition Supply Chain Security Act of 2018 and a final rule about the same. The Notice is available here. Comments close March 4, 2024.

Department of Defense (DOD) News Release: DOD Launches Distributed Bioindustrial Manufacturing Program to Bolster Domestic Supply Chains

On January 31, DOD announced new opportunities for American businesses to advance biotechnology as part of President Biden’s efforts to strengthen and build the resiliency of America’s defense industrial base and secure its supply chains. Biomanufacturing has the potential to support the U.S. military and our allies and partners by generating needed materials — from fuels and chemicals to food and medical supplies — where and when our forces need them has significant implications for our military. Read more here.

H.R. 5528: Safe and Smart Federal Purchasing Act of 2023 Passed House

On January 29, H.R. 5528 passed in the House and now goes to the Senate for consideration. This Bill requires the Office of Management and Budget to evaluate the procurement activities of each agency to determine whether provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation related to the lowest price technically acceptable source selection process have created any national security risk and report to Congress. More information is available here.

General Services Administration (GSA) Notice: Ombudsman Inquiry/Request Instrument

On February 5, GSA will publish a Notice and request for comments about the online intake instrument which receives inquiries from vendors currently doing business with or interested in doing business with GSA. The inquiries are collected by the GSA Ombudsman and routed to the appropriate office for resolution and/or implementation. Reporting of the data collected helps highlight thematic issues that vendors encounter with GSA acquisition programs, processes, or policies, and identify areas where training is needed. The information collected also assists in identifying and analyzing patterns and trends to help improve efficiencies and lead to improvements in current practices. The unpublished Notice is available here. Comments will close 60 days after publication in the Federal Register  (approximately April 5, 2024).

General Services Administration (GSA) News Release: GSA Provides Guidance on Procuring and Using Energy-Efficient Lighting in Federal Buildings

GSA’s Green Proving Ground (GPG) program, in collaboration with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, recently released LED Lighting and Controls Guidance for Federal Buildings as part of the agency’s commitment to sustainability and reducing costs to taxpayers. Read more here.

Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report: Federal Software Licenses: Agencies Need to Take Action to Achieve Additional Savings

On January 29, GAO released a report recommending better ways for agencies to track software licenses and usage. Among the objectives for GAO’s review were to identify the most used and the highest paid for software licenses by vendor and product and the extent to which agencies determined whether they purchased too many or too few software licenses. Read more here. The full report is available here.

Risks of Lowest-Price Contract Choices Draw Lawmaker Interest, Bloomberg Government

Pentagon use of ‘lowest price technically acceptable’ (LPTA) is up 18%. Bill would require a report on LPTA national security threats.  Lawmakers are prepared to vote on a bill that would kick off an investigation into potential national security risks posed by use of the LPTA contract award evaluation standard, a procurement mechanism Bloomberg Government data shows hit a record of $61.4 billion in fiscal 2023. Read more here (subscription required). 

Upcoming Government Contracts Presentations

PM WEBINAR: PilieroMazza Annual Review: Key Insights from Recent Bid Protest Decisions Reshape Strategies for Future Government Contractor Success, February 8, 2024, Katherine B. BurrowsEric Valle. Read more here.



Takeaways From SEC’s Aggressive Cybersecurity Moves, Law360

Whether a company loses a factory in a fire — or millions of files in a cybersecurity incident — it may be material to investors,” said U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler last year. This statement comes as the SEC ushers in a new era of aggressive cybersecurity enforcement. Read more here (subscription required). 

Pentagon Kicks Off Public Bounty for Biased Chatbots, DefenseScoop

The Department of Defense has started the first round of a crowdsourcing effort to find “bias” in large language models, as the Pentagon explores the upsides and risks of generative artificial intelligence capabilities. Read more here.

Commerce Proposes Rule Aimed at Protecting Cloud Services from Foreign Cyber Threats, FedScoop

A new proposed rule from the Department of Commerce seeks to protect cloud services from foreign cyber threats to national security and artificial intelligence by creating requirements for cloud infrastructure providers. Read more here.



Feds Get 7.4% Pay Raise Under Congressional Democrats’ Plan, Government Executive

Despite two years of federal employees receiving the highest pay increases in decades, the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates Act’s sponsors say the federal workforce continues to suffer from “chronic underinvestment.” Read more here.

Upcoming Labor & Employment Presentations

CONFERENCE: Pub K Annual Review 2024 – Labor & Employment, February 14, 2024, Nichole D. Atallah. Read more here.



Treasury Aims to Finish Credit Monetization Rules In 2024, Law360

The U.S. Department of the Treasury aims to issue final rules this year on two new ways to monetize tax credits tied to clean energy construction projects, known as the direct pay and transferability methods, an official said. Read more here (subscription required). 

Upcoming Construction Presentations

WEBINAR: DBA Basics for Federal Construction Contractors, February 12, 2024, Nichole D. AtallahSarah L. Nash. Read more here.



Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Notice: Supplier Diversity Business Management System (SDBMS)

On February 1, SEC published a Notice and request for comments about standards and processes for ensuring the fair inclusion of minority-owned and women-owned businesses in SEC’s business activities. This information allows the SEC to update and manage its current internal repository, measure the effectiveness of its technical assistance and outreach efforts, and target areas where additional program efforts are necessary. The Notice is available here. Comments close April 1, 2024.

Upcoming Business & Transactions Presentations

TRAINING: VIP START: Legal Considerations: How Best to Structure Your Company as a Federal Contractor, February 13, 2024, Isaias “Cy” Alba, IV. Read more here.



Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Final Rule: Premerger Notification, Reporting and Waiting Period Requirements

On February 5, the FTC published a Final Rule amending the Hart-Scott-Rodino Premerger Notification Rules, which require parties to some mergers and acquisitions to file reports with the FTC and Department of Justice (DOJ) and wait before consummating certain transactions. FTC announces the annual adjustment of the filing fee thresholds and amounts per the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act of 2022 in the 2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act. FTC amends Parts 801 and 803 of the Premerger Notification Rules to reflect the annual adjustment of the filing fee thresholds. The published Final Rule is available here and will be effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register (approximately March 6, 2024).

What R&W Insurance Access Means for Small-Cap M&A, Law360

Historically, buyers operating in the small and midsize enterprise or SME space could not obtain representations and warranties insurance with satisfactory scope of coverage on economically reasonable terms. Read more here (subscription required). 

Upcoming Mergers & Acquisitions Presentations

CONFERENCE: Pub K Annual Review 2024 – Mergers and Acquisitions, February 14, 2024, Isaias “Cy” Alba, IV. Read more here.