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Biden Proposes Emissions Reduction and Reporting Standards for Federal Contractors, 11.14.22, Cy Alba and Ustina Ibrahim
The Biden-Harris Administration recently published a proposed rule on Federal Supplier Climate Risks and Resilience (Proposed Rule). The Proposed Rule intends to further the goals set forth in Biden’s Executive Order on Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability (E.O. 14057) and to reduce the financial risks faced by the federal government from climate change-related supply chain disruptions. The Proposed Rule would set standards on emissions reporting, climate-related financial risk disclosure, and emissions reduction targets for federal contractors and subcontractors. Read more here. The Proposed Rule is available here.
PilieroMazza Submits Comments on Proposed Rule on Ownership and Control and Contractual Assistance Requirements for the 8(a) Business Development Program, 11.09.22, Jon Williams, Sam Finnerty, and Meghan Leemon
On November 8, 2022, PilieroMazza―a business law firm serving clients in the government contract and commercial business sectors―submitted comments on the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) proposed rule on ownership and control and contractual assistance requirements for the 8(a) Business Development Program (RIN 3245-AH70). Our Firm represents small businesses operating across the government contracting arena that have great interest in the subjects covered in the proposed rule. We appreciate SBA’s efforts on this important rulemaking and agree with many of SBA’s proposals. PilieroMazza also provides suggestions on ways that SBA could improve its rules in the final regulation. Visit this link to view the full submission. Read more here.
GSA Administrator Makes Commitment Toward Achieving Net-Zero Portfolio
General Services Administration (GSA) Administrator Robin Carnahan recently announced the agency’s commitment to ensuring that GSA’s Inflation Reduction Act funding will not be used to install fossil fuel-based equipment. Carnahan also outlined GSA’s plans to work with industry to invest over $3 billion in low-carbon materials and emerging technologies to help drive the federal footprint to net-zero. She said that GSA would be announcing hundreds of millions of dollars in projects before the end of the year. Read more here.
Pilot Program to Incentivize Contracting with Employee-Owned Businesses
The Department of Defense has established a new pilot program authorized by section 874 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 that allows the noncompetitive award for certain follow-on contracts to employee-owned businesses that meet the “qualified business” definition. Section 874 defines a ‘‘qualified business” as an S corporation (as defined in section 1361(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986) for which 100 percent of the outstanding stock is held through an employee stock ownership plan as defined in section 4975(e)(7) of such code. Read more here.
Small Business Lending Company Moratorium Rescission and Removal of the Requirement for a Loan Authorization
The Small Business Administration (SBA) published a proposed rule that would lift the moratorium on licensing new Small Business Lending Companies (SBLCs) and add a new type of entity called a Mission-Based SBLC. SBA also proposed to remove the requirement for a Loan Authorization. Read more here.
Administrator Guzman Announces Path Forward for Veteran Small Business Certification Program
Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced consequential updates to the planned launch of SBA’s new Veteran Small Business Certification Program—including her intention to grant a one-year extension to firms verified by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Vets First Verification Program through the Center for Verification and Evaluation as of the January 1, 2023, transfer date. Read more here.
Pentagon Rejects Calls to Increase Contract Costs for Inflation
The U.S. defense industry has failed in its pressure campaign for the Pentagon to raise its costs for contracts, according to a letter from the top Defense Department acquisition official. Bill LaPlante, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, wrote to Senator Elizabeth Warren last month that “DOD does not intend to enact a policy to increase contract prices due to inflation.” Read more here (subscription required).
Bid Protests Decline for 4th Consecutive Year
For the fourth consecutive year, the total number of bid protests filed by industry over federal procurements declined, according to the Government Accountability Office’s annual bid protest report issued to Congress November 1st. Read more here.
Interior Department Launches Cloud Solicitation with Up to $1B Ceiling
The Department of the Interior has issued final details of a single-source cloud procurement that could be worth up to $1 billion. In a solicitation document published on SAM.gov, the agency set out requirements for an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract, which is known as Cloud Hosting Service III (CHS III). It comes after the U.S. Geological Survey in May issued a wide-ranging draft solicitation. Through the procurement, the Department of the Interior is seeking to obtain virtual private center cloud services that will support cloud and managed service requirements. Read more here.
IOT Cyber Rule Covering Federal Buyers About to Take Effect
Under a 2020 law that goes into effect in December, the federal government will leverage its procurement powers to bolster minimum cybersecurity standards for Internet of Things (IOT) devices. Katerina Megas, Program Manager of National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) IOT cybersecurity program, said that agencies have until next month to meet minimum cybersecurity requirements published last year. The guidelines include a catalog of cybersecurity requirements for IOT devices procured by the federal government and requires agencies to comply with a series of risk management frameworks and other IOT-specific guidance featured in additional NIST publications. Read more here.
CISA Issues Vulnerability-Management Tools Dependent on Industry Action
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency released a set of documents to guide prioritization of software vulnerability remediation by agencies and other organizations. But use of the guidance is largely contingent on vendors providing the information necessary to conduct such a process. Read more here.
DHS Extends Proposal Deadline for $10B FirstSource III Solicitation Following Changes
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has extended the deadline for Phase II proposals for its $10 billion IT and software solicitation for the seventh time at offerors’ requests. Offerors now have until 10:00 AM EST on November 21st to submit proposals containing prior experience, past performance, and pricing for the FirstSource III solicitation, after DHS amended specifications for the IT value-added reseller category. Read more here.
Upcoming Government Contracts Presentations
PilieroMazza’s Matt Feinberg Comments on Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Application Lawsuit Against the SBA, 11.04.22, Matt Feinberg
A nearly 100-year old family-run animal attraction in South Florida, Monkey Jungle, recently filed for federal aid due to issues related to COVID. Since primates in the attraction can contract the highly contagious virus from humans, the company had to close its doors. With no revenue, and still maintaining a staff to care for hundreds of animals, Monkey Jungle is struggling to stay in business. So the company filed for a federal COVID relief grant designed to keep entertainment venues open. However, the Small Business Administration rejected Monkey Jungle’s application for a $653,000 grant. In August, Monkey Jungle filed a federal lawsuit seeking to reverse that decision. Read more here.
Omega Healthcare Investors, Inc. Agrees to Pay $3 Million to Settle Civil False Claims Act Allegations
Omega Healthcare Investors, Inc., as successor-in-interest to MedEquities Realty Trust, Inc. (MedEquities), has agreed to pay $3 million to resolve allegations that MedEquities violated the False Claims Act by submitting false claims to the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Read more here.
Federal Convict Charged with False Claims, Theft of Government Property, and Money Laundering in Multimillion Dollar Fraud Scheme
Matthew Walker Meredith was recently arrested for false claims against the government, theft of government property, and money laundering. If convicted on all counts, Meredith faces a maximum penalty of 75 years in federal prison. Read more here.
U.S. Treasury Issues Guidance on CFIUS Enforcement and Penalties, 11.02.22, Cy Alba and Ustina Ibrahim
On October 20, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) released the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS or the Committee) Enforcement and Penalty Guidelines (the Guidelines). The Guidelines describe (1) three categories of conduct that may constitute as CFIUS violations, (2) the Committee’s process for imposing penalties, and (3) factors the Committee considers when determining whether a penalty is warranted and the scope of such penalty. Since this is the first time the Treasury released guidance on enforcing CFIUS, contractors who have foreign investments, or are contemplating it, should review the main highlights of the Guidelines to avoid potentially costly monetary penalties. Read more here.
Representation-Case Procedures: Election Bars; Proof of Majority Support in Construction Industry Collective-Bargaining Relationships
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) published a notice of proposed rulemaking that would rescind and replace amendments that the NLRB made in April 2020 to its rules and regulations governing the filing and processing of petitions for an NLRB-conducted representation election while unfair labor practice charges are pending, and following an employer’s voluntary recognition of a union as the majority-supported collective-bargaining representative of the employer’s employees. The NLRB is also proposing to rescind an amendment governing the filing and processing of petitions for an NLRB-conducted representation election in the construction industry. The NLRB believes that these proposed changes will better protect employees’ statutory right to freely choose whether to be represented by a labor organization, promote industrial peace, and encourage the practice and procedure of collective bargaining. Comments are due January 3, 2023. Read more here.