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Polaris Contract Paused Again: COFC Stops GSA from Evaluating Proposals, 05.11.23, Cy Alba, Eric Valle, and Dozier Gardner
The Court of Federal Claims recently enjoined the General Services Administration (GSA) from evaluating proposals and awarding contracts under the highly publicized Polaris Program. While the decision impacts the Women-Owned Small Business, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, and Small Business pools specifically, it stands to make a much more significant impact on the procurement as a whole with Judge Eleni Roumel determining that certain solicitation requirements are deficient and ordering GSA to amend the solicitation before proceeding. This blog summarizes the decision and offers insights regarding how the injunction impacts contractors’ approach to the Polaris bidding process. Read more here.
Final Rule Implements New Process for Appealing HUBZone Status Protests, 05.10.23, Jon Williams and Daniel Figuenick
Based on new rules that take effect on May 10, 2023, the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) will now hear appeals from Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) status protests. PilieroMazza and others advocated for this change for some time, and it is now a reality. This is a welcome development to put the HUBZone program on par with the other small business programs and allow HUBZone firms to avail themselves of the appeal process at OHA. Read more here.
Report: Debt-Ceiling Standoff Could Impact Defense Contractors
A standoff between the White House and House Republicans over the debt ceiling could delay the passage of a national security budget for fiscal year 2024, a scenario that could increase the possibility of the Department of Defense operating under a continuing resolution and hurt military contractors. A meeting at the White House on May 9th between President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy failed to reach a consensus on the debt ceiling. With the deadlock, the U.S. government could default on its obligations as soon as June 1st if Congress fails to raise or suspend the borrowing limit. Read more here.
Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Development and Improvements on Loan Program Modernization to Expand Access to Capital for Small Businesses
Following the recent finalization of two new rules aimed at closing gaps in capital access for America’s small business owners, Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced streamlined lender procedures and added new fraud review on all loans. Read more here.
Pentagon R&D Tech Plans Highlight Rising Dollars for Top Vendors
The Department of Defense released its newest science and technology strategy. Northrop Grumman is on track to most easily take advantage of a new road map for winning research and development contracts from the Pentagon with the release of a strategy document centered on keeping the U.S. on pace with rivals. Read more here (subscription required).
Top 20: GSA Previews $5 Billion Cloud Services Contract Details
One of the federal government’s largest emerging cloud IT services contracts is finally taking shape with a General Services Administration (GSA) announcement about the status of its pending $5 billion blanket purchase agreement (BPA). Statements posted to GSA’s Cloud and Software online community from GSA IT Category Assistant Commissioner Laura Stanton confirmed the agency plans a summer release of a performance work statement for the first of three planned pools comprising its Ascend Cloud Services BPA. Read more here (subscription required).
Class Deviation—Limitations on the Procurement of DOD Non-Tactical Vehicles
The Department of Defense (DOD) published a class deviation to establish that, effective immediately, contracting officers shall not obligate any of the funds authorized to be appropriated by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 or otherwise made available to DOD for the procurement of DOD nontactical vehicles that are electric vehicles, advanced-biofuel-powered vehicles, or hydrogen-powered vehicles, or any components or spare parts associated with such vehicles, that do not comply with Federal Acquisition Regulation subpart 22.15, Prohibition of Acquisition of Products Produced by Forced or Indentured Child Labor. Read more here.
GSA Tools Flag Diverse Suppliers for Procurement Officials
The General Services Administration announced the launch of two online tools designed to help connect agency buyers with diverse vendors as part of the Biden Administration’s push to advance equity in government procurement. Read more here.
State Department Cancels Try for New Logistics Tracking System
A $2.5 billion logistics modernization contract never reached the start of formal bidding and has recently dropped off the State Department’s near-term procurement plans following months of delays. Read more here (subscription required).
Upcoming Government Contracts Presentations
Moving Beyond COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements for Federal Workers
President Biden signed an executive order that ends the government-wide vaccination requirement for federal employees or federally specified safety protocols for federal contractors. It went into effect on May 12, 2023. Read more here.
DOL Finds San Jose Assisted Living Provider Intentionally Denied 16 Workers Overtime Pay, Recovers $211K in Back Wages, Damages
A federal investigation has recovered $211,064 in back wages and liquidated damages for 16 people employed by the owners and operators of three Bay Area assisted living facilities that deliberately failed to pay the required overtime rate when employees worked over 40 hours a week serving the needs of older adults in Santa Clara and San Jose. Read more here.
DOL Recovers $96K for 10 Workers on Kauai After Finding Cleaning Company Denied Pay for Overtime, Work Travel
Department of Labor investigators have found that a cleaning service, All Kauai Cleaning, failed to pay employees overtime wages when required and did not pay employees for time spent traveling between job sites, which has led to the recovery of $96,936 in unpaid wages and damages for 10 workers. The company also was assessed $1,540 in penalties for repeated violations. Read more here.
Private Equity Sits on Billions While Weighing Contractor Buys
Private equity firms with a history of buying contractors are making plans for what to do with billions in new fundraising even as deal activity among defense and government services firms drops. Read more here (subscription required).