Bridge Contracts Need Improved Oversight, Says GAO

In a recent GAO review of three agencies’ use of bridge contracts, the agencies in question had “limited or no insight into their use of bridge contracts.”

According to a recent GAO report, a lack of effective guidance for the use of bridge contracts contributed to potential misuse–such as several so-called “bridge” contracts that were longer than three years in duration.

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SBA Proposes Credit For Lower-Tier Subcontracts

Large prime contractors operating under individual subcontracting plans would receive credit for small businesses performing at any subcontracting tier, according to a proposed rule issued yesterday by the SBA.

The proposed rule also requires large primes to assign a NAICS code and size standard to “solicitations” for subcontracts–a notion that may come as a surprise to prime contractors, many of whom do not typically issue formal subcontract solicitations.

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No GAO Jurisdiction Where Government Receives “De Minimis” Value

GAO lacks jurisdiction to decide a protest relating to a solicitation under which the government will receive de minimis value.

De minimis is a fancy Latin term meaning, essentially, “not much.” In one recent bid protest decision, GAO held that it lacked jurisdiction to consider a protester’s challenge to the terms of a solicitation because the solicitation called for the contractor to purchase scrap metal from the government, not the other way around.

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Buy Indian Act: 105 Years (And Counting) Of Frustration

In 1910, William Howard Taft lived in the White House, the Chicago Cubs were just two years removed from back-to-back World Series titles, and Arizona had yet to be admitted to the Union.  That summer, Congress passed the Buy Indian Act, a statute authorizing a special federal contracting program for Indian-owned businesses.

Since then, it has been mostly downhill.  It took the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) 103 years to issue regulations implementing the Act’s contracting preferences.  Now that the regulations are finally in place, the Buy Indian Act program is suffering from lack of effective oversight and implementation.  In fact, a recent GAO report found that the BIA and the Indian Health Service could not even clearly articulate whether Buy Indian Act set-aside contracts take priority over other set-asides.

If the Buy Indian Act is ever to live up to its potential, significant changes are needed.

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Buy Indian Act: Implementation Needs Improvement, Says GAO

The implementation of the Buy Indian Act set-aside program suffers from inconsistencies and uncertainties–including the fundamental question of whether Buy Indian Act set-asides are to be prioritized over other set-aside contracts.

In a recent report on the Buy Indian Act, the GAO uncovered a disturbing lack of effective oversight and implementation, and made several recommendations to enable the government to maximize the effectiveness of the Buy Indian Act.

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Simplified Acquisition Threshold To $500,000? House Proposes Huge Increase

The simplified acquisition threshold would increase to $500,000 under the version of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act currently before the U.S. House of Representatives.

If the House proposal ultimately becomes law, the simplified acquisition threshold would more than triple from its current $150,00 level.  Such a dramatic increase in the simplified acquisition threshold could affect nearly all federal contractors–especially small businesses.

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Non-Manufacturer Rule Confusion: House Proposes Fix

Many small contractors (and the SBA) were surprised when the Court of Federal Claims held last year that the non-manufacturer rule applies any time the government buys manufactured products–regardless of the NAICS code assigned to the procurement.

Now the U.S. House of Representatives is proposing to fix the confusion caused by the Court’s decision.  The House version of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act would amend the Small Business Act to specify that the non-manufacturer rule applies only to contracts for supplies.

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