GAO Allows Contracting Officer Discretion to Act as Tie-Breaker

Your company has submitted a proposal for a Lowest-Priced, Technically Acceptable acquisition. To your surprise, you find out another company has submitted a technically acceptable offer with the same price. Equally surprising, the solicitation does not contain any provisions instructing the agency on how to pick from otherwise equal bids. So what is the contracting officer to do – issue an order for a standoff, a la the O.K. Corral? (For the record, we do not advise this as a viable method of conflict resolution.)

Fortunately, GAO encourages a less drastic solution–use of the contracting officer’s reasonable discretion.

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Runway Extension Act: Congress Strikes Back

A short time ago in a blog not too far away, we wrote about the newly passed Small Business Runway Extension Act.

Shortly after passage of the Runway Extension Act confusion struck the government contracting world when the SBA openly stated that it would not implement the Runway Extension Act. Recently, the House Committee on Small Business passed H.R. 2345, “Clarifying the Small Business Runway Extension Act” which, in no uncertain terms, tells SBA it has to implement the Runway Extension Act before the end of 2019.

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DoD Proposes Aligning DFARS 8(a) Nonmanufacturer Rule with Existing SBA Regulations

The DoD recently issued proposed revisions to the DFARS 8(a) nonmanufacturer rule, found in 48 C.F.R. § 252.219-7010. The proposed revisions would update the admittedly “outdated text regarding the nonmanufacturer rule with updated text” that reflects SBA’s May 2016 final rule implementing the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.

While the changes are only for 8(a) concerns, the differences between the existing DFARS and proposed change are significant nonetheless.

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GAO: Agencies Must Consider Information Gathered by Reverse Auction Providers

What are federal contractors supposed to do when FedBid (now Unison) requests additional information related to a proposal and the awarding agency ignores that information in its awarding decision?

GAO recently held that the agency must consider all information gathered by reverse auction providers.

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DOE Expands Pool of Eligible Protégés under DOE Mentor-Protege Program

The Department of Energy has joined the ranks of government agencies aligning part of its respective small business regulations with the SBA.

The DOE has issued a class deviation expanding the pool of companies eligible to be proteges under the DOE mentor-protege program. This deviation comes almost 20 years after DOE first published guidelines for its formal DOE mentor-protégé program and almost three years after SBA formally established a government-wide mentor-protégé program.

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FCC Seeks Comments From Small Businesses on Proposed Satellite Regulations

There are more than 170 million pieces of debris in space. This debris has accumulated over years and years of launching hundreds of satellites into orbit; the same satellites that allow us to rely on GPS, Instagram all our travel photos, or even make this blog available to the masses. While there is almost a 0% chance any of this space debris will land in your front yard, or on your shoulder, it still poses a significant risk to other satellites in various orbits around earth.

To stem the growth of space debris, the Federal Communications Commission recently released a proposed rule, 84 FR 4742, that significantly changes how satellite launches are both planned and tracked. Unfortunately, these changes will likely drive up costs of accessing space, making small business participation even more challenging than it already is.

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5 Things You Should Know: SBA Certificates of Competency

If a contracting officer determines that a small business offeror is not qualified to perform under a solicitation, that usually means the offeror’s proposal will be rejected. In some instances, however, the offeror gets a second chance through the SBA’s Certificate of Competency (“COC”) program.

Here are five things you should know about the COC program.

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