Biden Signs PRICE Act to Reform Federal Procurement and Help Small Business Contractors, March 9, 2022, Cy Alba
President Biden recently signed the PRICE Act (Promoting Rigorous and Innovative Cost Efficiencies for Federal Procurement and Acquisitions Act). The PRICE Act amplifies the role of federal small business contractors by encouraging the adoption of innovative procurement processes. In this blog, PilieroMazza’s Government Contracts Group explains the significance of the PRICE Act for small business contractors. Read more here.
Board Rejects Software Company’s Attempt to Enforce License Agreement Against Government Agency, March 8, 2022, Kevin Barnett
In a recent decision, the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA) found that software companies selling their products to the government through resellers cannot enforce their end-user license agreements (EULAs) by filing a claim at the CBCA. In this blog, PilieroMazza’s Government Contracts Group cautions software companies to require resellers to incorporate the software company’s EULA into the government contract and agree to sponsor or pass through any claims for violations of the EULA. Read more here.
Biden Signs Government Funding Bill
Forbes reported that President Biden has signed a $1.5 trillion bill to fund the federal government. About $782 billion is allocated for military spending under the Defense Department, while an additional $125 billion has been allocated to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Read more here.
Final Rule Amends FAR to Implement Domestic Preference in Government Procurement
The Department of Defense (DOD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have published a final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement an executive order addressing domestic preferences in government procurement. The rule will take effect October 25, 2022. Read the published rule here. Read the small entity compliance guide here.
Update to VAAR Is Proposed
The Department of Veterans Affairs is proposing to amend and update its VA Acquisition Regulation (VAAR) to revise or remove any policy superseded by changes in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and to incorporate new agency-specific regulations or policies. Read the proposed rule here.
The Department of Defense (DOD) Corrects Deadline for Public Comments on Proposed DFARS Rule The Department of Defense (DOD) issued a correction to the deadline for commenting on a proposed rule that would amend the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to implement the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Implementation Act. The proposed rule issued February 28, 2022, identified the deadline as May 27, 2022, but this correction changes the date to April 29, 2022. Read the correction here.
White House Reminds Agencies to Adopt NIST’s Software Supply Chain Security Framework
Nextgov reported that the Office of Management and Budget told federal agencies they must immediately adopt guidance on software supply chain security as required under the May 2021 cybersecurity executive order. Government buyers must begin using the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Secure Software Development Framework, which requires them to obtain attestations that software products conform to best practices. Read more here.
White House Touts Boost to Small Businesses from Its Pandemic Relief Policies
The White House stated that recent reports by the independent Government Accountability Office and academics Robert Fairlie and Frank Fossen showed that the Biden Administration’s reforms to the Paycheck Protection Program helped a substantially higher share of loans go to small businesses in underserved communities. Read the White House fact sheet here.
OIG Audit Finds DOD Small Business Subcontracting Requirements Ineffective
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Defense (DOD) found that DOD contracting personnel awarded small business set-aside and sole-source contracts to contractors that complied with established contracting limitations on 21 of 31 contracts subject to subcontracting limitations. However, OIG found ineffective assurance of compliance with established subcontracting limitations and subcontract award reporting requirements for small business set-aside and sole-source contracts. OIG recommended the issuance of supplemental guidance for contracting personnel. Read the OIG report here.
GAO Concludes Most DHS Acquisition Programs are Meeting their Cost and Schedule Goals
After reviewing 23 major acquisition programs at the Department of Homeland Security, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that 20 were meeting their cost and schedule goals by the end of fiscal year 2021 despite some management issues and COVID-19 delays. The other three programs faced challenges such as supply chain issues or underestimating the complexity of their programs. Read the GAO report here.
GAO Recommends Updated Guidance to Reflect Key Principles of Product Development
A GAO report has concluded that the acquisition policies of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) could better implement key product development principles to ensure that products are consistently delivered quickly and efficiently. Read the report here.
GAO Urges VA to Exclude Ineligible Partners from Community Care Programs
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Veterans Administration (VA) system contains 1,600 potentially ineligible community providers, which are allowed to provide care for eligible veterans when they face challenges accessing care at VA medical facilities. GAO recommended that the VA improve its controls and procedures to exclude all ineligible providers from its community care program. Read the GAO report here.
GAO Dismisses Bid Protest Allegation that Awardee is Unable to License Data
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) partially denied and partially dismissed a protest by LightBox Parent, L.P., of the award of a contract to CostQuest Associates, Inc., under RFP No. 273FCC21R0005. The RFP was issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the creation and delivery of a broadband internet availability dataset. GAO dismissed LightBox’s allegation that CostQuest cannot license certain data to the FCC because the data is licensed from a third party, saying these arguments pertain to a dispute between private parties that does not involve the government. GAO dismissed in part and denied in part LightBox’s allegation that CostQuest materially misrepresented terms of license agreements it held with a third party. View the GAO decision here.
GAO Grants Higher Attorney’s Fees for Bid Protest Winner
GAO granted the request of WorldWide Language Resources, Inc. that it recommend a reimbursement rate for WorldWide’s attorneys’ fees that exceeds the $150 per hour statutory rate limit in connection with a bid protest in which WorldWide prevailed. The Department of the Army concurred. Read the decision here.
Bureau of Indian Affairs Issues Rule Adjusting Penalties
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) issued a final rule providing for annual adjustments to the level of civil monetary penalties in BIA regulations to account for inflation under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act. Read the published rule here
Upcoming Government Contracts Presentations
WEBINAR: Selling Your Government Contract Business: Plan Today for a Stronger Tomorrow, Part 1 of 2, March 30, Cy Alba. Read more here.
WEBINAR: Flowdowns, April 6, Cy Alba. Read more here.
WEBINAR: Bidding for Major Contracts? Compliance Requirements You Should Prepare for Now, April 7, Cy Alba and Meghan Leemon. Read more here.
WEBINAR: Joint Venture and Mentor-Protege Bidding Strategies, April 26, Peter Ford and Meghan Leemon. Read more here.
WEBINAR: Growth by Acquisition: Important Considerations for Government Contractors, Part 2 of 2, May 18, Cy Alba. Read more here.
LABOR & EMPLOYMENT
DOL to Update Davis-Bacon Rules
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it will issue a notice of proposed rulemaking updating the regulations that implement the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (DBA) to better reflect today’s construction industry. This proposed rulemaking, which DOL called the most comprehensive review of the DBA regulations in 40 years, seeks to speed up prevailing wage updates to ensure that prevailing wage rates keep up with actual wages. Read DOL’s news release here.
DOL and DOJ Strengthen Their Partnership to Protect Workers
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division signed a memorandum of understanding strengthening their partnership in protecting workers from employer collusion, ensuring compliance with labor laws, and promoting competitive labor markets and worker mobility. Read DOL’s news release here.
OSHA Issues Rule Setting Procedures for Retaliation Complaints Under Taxpayer First Act
The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued an interim final rule establishing procedures and timeframes for the handling of retaliation complaints under the Taxpayer First Act (TFA). This interim final rule is effective March 7, 2022. OSHA also requested comments, which are due May 6, 2022. Read the interim final rule here.
OSHA Fines New Jersey Auto Parts Seller $1.2million
An investigation by the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, initiated after a vehicle lift crushed a worker’s hand, led to fines totaling $1.2 million against a New Jersey auto parts seller for 33 workplace safety and health violations. Read DOL’s news release here.
Framing Company Owner to Pay $2 Million for OSHA Violations
An administrative law judge ordered the owner of a framing company in New Jersey to pay $2 million in penalties for numerous OSHA violations. Read DOL’s news release here.
LITIGATION & DISPUTE RESOLUTION
Two Men Convicted on Fraud Charges Involving $3 million in Contracts Intended for Service-Disabled Veterans
A jury in New Mexico found two Texas men guilty on federal charges that they agreed to create a pass-through entity to gain access to programs set aside for service-disabled veterans. They were charged with unlawfully obtaining more than $3 million in government construction contracts at Cannon Air Force Base. Read the Justice Department’s news release here.