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Debt Limit Deal Would Save Feds’ Paychecks, But Freeze Agency Spending

An agreement between the White House and congressional Republicans would bring a spending freeze to federal agencies next fiscal year in exchange for punting debt ceiling decisions into 2025, averting a crisis for government operations and ensuring federal employees continue to receive their paychecks on time. Government Executive, Eric Katz. Read more here.


Federal Labor Law Applies to Civilian Technicians in State National Guards, Supreme Court Affirms

A Government Executive article reports that the Supreme Court recently reaffirmed that state national guards operate under the jurisdiction of the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) when they supervise a cadre of hybrid federal-state employees. The Supreme Court heard arguments and decided whether dual status technicians are considered “federal employees.” Justice Thomas, for the majority, noted that employers must abide by federal authority when hiring dual service technicians and “are bound by the Civil Service Reform Act.” Thus, the Ohio National Guard must comply with FLRA. Justices Alito and Gorsuch dissented arguing that state national guards are not federal agencies just because they have federally delegated authority. Government Executive, Erich Wagner. Read more here. The opinions are available here.


Rescission of Class Deviation—Ensuring Adequate COVID-19 Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors

On May 24, 2023, the Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense issued a memorandum rescinding Class Deviation—Ensuring Adequate COVID-19 Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors. Effective immediately, this memorandum rescinds Class Deviation 2021-O0009 and its Revisions 1 and 2. Class Deviation 2021-O0009 implemented Executive Order (EO) 14042, Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors. EO 14099, Moving Beyond COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements for Federal Workers, dated May 9, 2023, effective May 12, 2023, and published on May 15, 2023, at 88 FR 30891, revoked EO 14042. Read more here.


Upcoming Labor & Employment Presentations


WEBINAR: FAR Session 14, Parts 22 & 23, July 12, Nichole Atallah. Read more here.



Get Ready! Enhanced Cybersecurity Standards for Federal Contractors Coming Soon

For years, the federal contracting community has closely monitored the oft-delayed Department of Defense’s (DOD) Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) program—now on iteration 2.0—as the forefront of cybersecurity obligations. That focus may soon be expanding. Contractors outside of DOD’s orbit may soon be subject to similar requirements. Civilian agency contractors should start preparing now for an enhanced cybersecurity proposed rule to prevent gaps or issues when the regulation goes into effect—not to mention it just being good business to have robust cybersecurity protection. Read more here.


Upcoming Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Presentations


WEBINAR: Cybersecurity for Government Contractors: Success Through Compliance Readiness, June 6, Kevin Barnett and Daniel Figuenick. Read more here.



GAO Sustains Protest Finding Agency’s Failure to Engage in Meaningful Discussions Was Not Cured During Re-Evaluation  

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently sustained a protest in Life Science Logistics, LLC, B-421018.2, .3 (April 19, 2023), finding that an agency’s discussions were not meaningful where they did not disclose flaws that were present in the protestor’s initial proposal, but which were not identified by the agency until it re-evaluated the proposal during corrective action. PilieroMazza reviews this case and highlights key actions an agency is required to take to give government contractors similar opportunities to revise their proposals. Read more here.


Bloomberg Sound ON Radio Show: Cy Alba Discusses Debt Ceiling Debate and “Squeeze” on Federal Contractors

Cy Alba—Practice Group Chair of PilieroMazza’s Government Contracts Group—spoke with Sound ON radio show hosts Joe Mathieu and Kailey Leinz about the debt default’s negative impact on federal government contractors, with the most vulnerable being contractors in the small business sector. Cy specifically discussed how contractors are getting squeezed in terms of getting paid by the government for the goods and services provided and potential conflicts that may arise such as claims related to contract performance. To hear Cy’s full interview, please click this link and go to minute 40:07. Read more here.


Biden-Harris Administration to Launch New Initiative to Increase Federal Contracting with Small-Disadvantaged Businesses

The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced a joint effort known as the 8(a) MAS Pool Initiative to help small-disadvantaged businesses (SDBs) participating in the 8(a) Business Development Program gain access to more federal contracts in the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Program and advance President Biden’s goal to increase contracts to SDBs. This agreement establishes a pool of 8(a) firms to make it easier for procurement officials to locate and contract with small, disadvantaged businesses across industries. Read more here.


Big $48 Billion Systems Design Pipeline Seen in New IT Contract

Use of NIH’s new Chief Information Officers Solutions and Partners 4 (CIO-SP4) vehicle awaits resolution of 142 protests. The next two years holds considerable promise for 425 initial awardees on the National Institutes of Health-managed CIO-SP4 IT systems design contract—but first their contracts have to be finalized. Bloomberg Government, Paul Murphy. Read more here (subscription required).


“Pathways” to the Federal Acquisition Service’s North Star Goals

The Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) established North Star Goals to facilitate entities doing business with FAS. This article lists several pathways to achieve the goals, including amendments to language, price adjustments, and reporting/record-keeping adjustments. The Coalition for Government Procurement. 


Federal Travel Regulation (FTR); Relocation Allowance-Temporary Quarters Subsistence Expenses (TQSE)

The General Services Administration (GSA) is proposing to amend the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) by implementing a third methodology for reimbursing temporary quarters subsistence expenses (TQSE) allowance and redefining the current methods of reimbursing TQSE to include, among others, lowering the percentage multipliers for calculating TQSE maximum daily amounts. Written comments are due July 24, 2023, to the Regulatory Secretariat Division.


Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS): Modification of Authority of the Department of Defense to Carry Out Certain Prototype Projects (DFARS Case 2023-D006)

The Department of Defense (DOD) is issuing a final rule amending the DFARS to implement a section of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 to permit the award of a follow-on production contract without the use of competitive procedures. Read more here. The final rule is effective May 25, 2023.


Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS): Undefinitized Contract Actions (DFARS Case 2021-D003)

The Department of Defense (DOD) is issuing a final rule amending the DFARS as recommended by the DOD Inspector General to refine the management of undefinitized contract actions. Read more here. The final rule is effective May 25, 2023.


Priority Open Recommendations: Small Business Administration (SBA)

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports that the SBA implemented all recommendations from GAO four years ago. GAO notes five areas for thirteen additional recommendations: (1) “[i]mproving oversight and communication for COVID-19 pandemic response”; (2) “[e]nhancing disaster recovery efforts”; (3) “[i]mproving export promotion operations”; (4) “[a]ddressing cybersecurity challenges”; and (5) “[m]eeting reporting requirements in a more timely manner.” Read more here. The full report is available here.


Priority Open Recommendations: Department of Defense (DOD)

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) identified recently issued a report identifying 15 new priority recommendations for DOD involving the following areas: acquisitions and contract management; rebuilding readiness and force structure; accident prevention and safety; cybersecurity and the information environment; financial management; driving enterprise-wide business reform; health care; preventing sexual harassment; and strengthening diversity, equity and inclusion within DOD. Read more here. The full GAO report is available here.


Upcoming Government Contracts Presentations


WEBINAR: Size and Status Recertification: What Is It and Why Does it Matter? June 14, Sam Finnerty. Read more here.

WEBINAR: FAR Session 13, Parts 19 & 26, June 28, Cy Alba. Read more here.