SBA: Interaffiliate Transactions Exception Will Be Broadly Applied

The SBA will broadly apply the so-called “interaffiliate transactions” exception under the SBA’s size rules, essentially overturning an SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals decision issued last year, in which OHA interpreted the exception very narrowly.

In a Policy Statement issued May 24, 2016, the SBA states that it will broadly apply the interaffiliate transactions exception “regardless of the type of relationship that resulted in the finding of affiliation.”

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SmallGovCon Week In Review: May 16-20, 2016

As we forge into the second half of May, those of us around the Lawrence, KS are are preparing for a nice weekend full of beautiful weather and outdoor fun. But our weekend plans won’t stop us from bringing you the top stories from around the country in this week’s SmallGovCon Week In Review.

This week’s edition brings you a look at the possible hold put on DISA’s RFP, False Claims Act allegations leading to a $2.25M settlement, a company forced to dispose of its yacht and pay a hefty fine, and much more.

  • Defense Information Systems Agency may have to suspend its $17.5 billion RFP as the result of GAO protests challenging problems of GAO related problems with the solicitation. [E-Commerce Times]
  • General Services Administration plans to ease the process for health IT acquisitions through a new Special Item Number for that acquisition category. [Fierce Government]
  • A construction company accused of fraud involving a disadvantaged business enterprise has agreed to pay the United States more than $2,250,000 to settle the False Claims Act allegations. [United States Department of Justice]
  • If the Senate Armed Services Committee’s version of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act passes, The Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer’s office may close and its duties reassigned to the two new undersecretaries for innovation and acquisitions management. [Defense News]
  • A company must pay the US Government $200k and dispose of its yacht to ensure that the company’s billing practice will not repeat itself in the future. [Lower Moreland Patch]
  • Four years in the making, a new final rule will amend the FAR to address basic safeguards of contractor information systems. [Fierce Government]
  • The Senate Armed Services Committee is trying to wean the DoD off of its reliance on cost contracts in favor of fixed price contracts. [Federal News Radio]
  • A government contractor failed to make 401(k) contributions pursuant to the Davis-Bacon Act resulting in the DoL seeking nearly $250,000 in unremitted employer contributions. [PlanSponsor]
  • A debate over LGBT discrimination by federal contractors led Democrats on the House floor jeering chants of “shame” at Republican lawmakers. [Government Executive]
  • A recent Defense Department audit showed that inaccurate data in contract follow-up records was present in as many as 10% of the data fields sampled. [Government Executive]

SBA Size Protests: File With Contracting Officer, Not OHA

The SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals is an appellate forum and lacks jurisdiction to hear initial size protests.

As explained in a recent SBA OHA decision, size protests must be filed with the relevant Contracting Officer, who then refers the matter to the appropriate SBA Area Office.  Only after the SBA Area Office issues a size determination does OHA have jurisdiction to consider a size appeal.

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Update: SBA Utah District Office Rescinds Questionable 8(a) JV Policy

The SBA’s Utah District Office has rescinded the questionable new restrictions on 8(a) mentor-protege agreements and joint ventures that the District Office imposed last month.

A brief email to Utah 8(a)s on May 5, which was forwarded to me by an industry connection, states “The Utah District Office hereby rescinds the e-mail dated April 21, 2016 regarding Mentor Protégé and Joint Venture relationships.”

No reason was given for the sudden change, but I think it’s the right call.

DoD Proposes Hotline Poster Consolidation

Defense contractors looking for a little more wall space to hang inspirational cat posters may be in luck.  Today, the DoD issued a proposal to consolidate the various hotline poster requirements under DFARS 252.203-7004 (Display of Hotline Posters).

The DoD proposal certainly doesn’t fall under the category of major contracting news, but will be a welcome change for contractors feeling a little overburdened with mandatory government posters.

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WOSBs, 8(a)s, Affiliation & More: My “Amtower Off-Center” Interview

The WOSB Program, 8(a) Program, and SBA affiliation rules were all on the agenda during my interview today with government contracts guru Mark Amtower on his popular radio show, Amtower Off-Center.

If you weren’t able to catch the show live, just click here to listen or download the audio from Federal News Radio.  And be sure to tune in every week as Mark talks government contracts with movers and shakers from industry and government alike.

Small Business Set-Asides: Two Small Manufacturers Required

When an agency acquires manufactured products or supplies, the agency need not set aside the solicitation for small businesses under the FAR’s “rule of two” unless the agency has a reasonable expectation of receiving offers from small businesses offering the products of two or more small manufacturers.

A recent GAO bid protest decision highlights a little-known provision of the FAR, which provides that the “rule of two” does not apply to acquisitions for manufactured products over $150,000 where two or more small business nonmanufacturers are likely to submit offers, but the small business nonmanufacturers will not offer the products of two or more small business manufacturers.

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