Moving SDVOSB Verification To SBA Would Save $5 Million Annually, Says CBO

Moving SDVOSB verification from the VA to the SBA would save approximately $5 million annually, according to a recent cost estimate issued by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

The CBO concludes that implementing the Improving Opportunities for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Act of 2013 would save money because the SBA would be able to take advantage of systems already in place for other certification programs.  The CBO estimate may reignite debate over the potential transfer of the SDVOSB verification program from the VA to the SBA.

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SBA: SDVOSB, HUBZone, WOSB Mentor-Protege Programs May Arrive In 2014

The SBA will “make it a priority” to adopt regulations establishing mentor-protege programs for SDVOSBs, HUBZones, and WOSBs in the next 12 months, according to the SBA’s most recent semiannual regulatory agenda.

The regulatory agenda states that the three new mentor-protege programs are expected to be “similar” to the 8(a) mentor-protege program, which suggests that the special joint venturing benefits currently available only to 8(a)s may become available to SDVOSBs, HUBZones and WOSBs, as well.

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SBA Eliminates Megawatt Hours Size Standards

The SBA has issued a final rule eliminating the unusual megawatt hours size standard applicable to six NAICS codes in NAICS Sector 22.  The SBA’s revision replaces the megawatt hours size standard with a 500-employee size standard, and eliminates the requirement that a firm must be “primarily engaged” in the generation, transmission  or distribution of energy for sale.

Although the megawatt hours size standard may have made sense when it was adopted in the 1970s, the SBA appropriately recognized that the market has changed.  Perhaps most important, the “primarily engaged” component of the megawatt hours size standard unfairly excluded many companies from competing as “small” in NAICS Sector 22.

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VA SDVOSB Protests: New Rule Allows Appeals

The VA SDVOSB protest process has been criticized by some (including a certain Kansas-based government contracts attorney) for failing to offer a right of appeal.  Under the VA’s rules, if a protested company was found to be ineligible as a SDVOSB, its only option was to sue the VA in federal court–an expensive and time-consuming proposition.

Until now.

Today, the VA published an interim final rule, under which a protested SDVOSB has the right to an appeal within the VA.  The new system isn’t perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction.

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Bill Introduced To Transfer SDVOSB Verification To SBA

Today, Congressman Mike Coffman introduced the Improving Opportunities for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses Act of 2013.

The bill would standardize the requirements for SDVOSB eligibility, eliminating the current differences between the SBA’s and VA’s regulations.  In addition, the bill would transfer responsibility for verifying SDVOSB status to the SBA (the VA would retain authority for determining whether an individual is a service-disabled veteran).

Hardy Stone’s website, VetLikeMe, has a more detailed summary of the bill.  I will be closely tracking this legislation and will post updates if and when it moves forward.

VA Seeks Public Comment on SDVOSB Verification Rules

The VA is seeking public comment on its VOSB and SDVOSB verification regulations in an effort to “improve the regulations to provide greater clarity, to streamline the program, and to encourage more VOSBs to apply for verification.”

As part of the public comment process, the VA is inviting the public to weigh in on previously-suggested changes, as well as answer specific questions about ways the VA might improve its verification rules.

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CBCA Appeal Dismissed Because Contractor Filed By FedEx, Not USPS

As has been well-documented by news outlets, the U.S. Postal Service plans to end Saturday delivery to save money.  With the USPS facing financial and customer service struggles, it is little wonder that many government contractors rely on rival FedEx to deliver important packages.

But when it comes to filing a contract appeal with the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals, contractors may want to think twice before calling FedEx.  As one unfortunate contractor recently discovered, thanks to an arcane (and in my view, unfair) provision in the CBCA’s rules, a package sent through the USPS is deemed timely filed with the CBCA on the date of its postmark, whereas a package sent by any other means–including FedEx–is not considered filed until it is actually received at the CBCA’s office in Washington, DC.

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