Limitations on Subcontracting: FAR Council Finally Proposes Rule Change

For small government contractors, the disconnect between the SBA’s updated limitations on subcontracting rule and the FAR’s outdated rules has been very confusing.  For more than two years, the FAR and SBA regulation have used different formulas to determine compliance, and the SBA rule–but not the FAR–allows the use of “similarly situated entities” on small business set-asides and 8(a) contracts.

This has created major headaches for small businesses, who have had no definitive answer to what should be a simple question: “which rule do I follow?”  Now, finally, there is some important progress to report in clearing up this discrepancy: yesterday, the FAR Council issued a proposed rule to update the FAR’s limitations on subcontracting provisions and conform them to the SBA’s rule.

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Government-Wide SDVOSB Certification: More Details on New Bill

I’ve long predicted that Congress would eventually adopt a formal, Government-wide SDVOSB certification program (or “verification” program, if you prefer).  Maybe my crystal ball is finally right.  As my colleague Matt Schoonover wrote last week, a new bill introduced in the House of Representatives would do just that.

The full text of the bill has now been published.  Here are some of the key details of the Government-wide SDVOSB certification proposal.

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The Mysterious Case of the Missing SBA Women-Owned Small Business Certification Program

On December 19, 2014, then-President Obama signed the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act into law.  The 2015 NDAA eliminated the statutory basis for federal agencies to award women-owned small business set-aside contracts to self-certified companies.  In essence, then, the 2015 NDAA effectively eliminated WOSB self-certification.

Flash forward almost four years, and the SBA has not yet implemented a WOSB certification program.  In fact, the SBA hasn’t even proposed rules to implement such a program.  Instead, although the SBA continues to license a few third-party certifiers, the SBA also continues to say that WOSBs “can self-certify directly at certify.sba.gov by answering questions and uploading documents.”

So where the heck is the mysteriously missing SBA WOSB certification program?  And is it even legal for the SBA to continue allowing WOSB self-certification?

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Yes, Foreign-Owned Entities Can Be Small Businesses Under SBA Government Contracting Rules

Government contractors often assume that a foreign-owned company cannot qualify as a small business under the SBA’s government contracting size rules.

Not so.  As demonstrated by a recent SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals size appeal decision, a foreign-owned entity can qualify as a small business, provided that it has a physical location in the United States and contributes to the U.S. economy.

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HUBZone Program: SBA’s Proposed Rule Clears Up Some Common Misconceptions

Last week, the SBA released a proposal to overhaul the HUBZone Program.  The proposed rule will make major changes to almost all aspects of the HUBZone Program, and my colleague Ian Patterson is covering those changes in a series of two posts on SmallGovCon.

But while the proposed HUBZone Program rule changes will garner most of the headlines, the SBA also has used the proposed rule as an opportunity to clear up a few very common HUBZone Program misconceptions–such as the notion that so-called “jobsite employees” don’t count toward the 35% HUBZone residency requirement.

Here are three of the most important clarifications SBA offered in the proposed HUBZone rule.

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SBA Mentor-Protégé Joint Ventures: Even GAO Appears a Tad Confused

The SBA’s All Small Mentor-Protégé program offers a tremendous opportunity for participants to pursue set-aside contracts as joint venture partners.  But misunderstandings and misconceptions about how SBA mentor-protégé joint ventures work are pervasive.

One very common misconception is that the SBA must pre-approve a mentor-protégé joint venture.  In most cases, that’s not so.  In a recent bid protest decision, even the GAO appeared a little confused, repeatedly mentioning SBA approval of a joint venture even though no such approval was required for the contract in question.

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SmallGovCon Week in Review: October 22-26, 2018

I was unexpectedly out of the office Friday afternoon, so I didn’t get a chance to post our weekly look at the latest and greatest in government contracting.  But better late than never!  It’s time for a slightly-delayed version.

In last week’s edition of SmallGovCon Week In Review, we have articles about House representatives requesting investigation of the JEDI contract, a report that suggests the 8(a) program is full of ineligible participants (with commentary by Koprince Law LLC partner Matthew Schoonover), GSA creates new a Solicitation Review Tool to better ensure contract compliance, and much more.

Happy Monday!

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