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.
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.
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.
The SBA has proposed major changes to rules governing joint venturing for set-aside contracts.
As part of a proposed rule released last week, the SBA proposes to eliminate so-called “populated” joint ventures, and proposes additional changes regarding joint venture certifications, performance of work reports, and more.
The SBA has proposed to establish a government-wide mentor-protege program available to all small businesses.
In a proposed rule released yesterday, the SBA proposed to establish a single, “universal” mentor-protege program, open to all small businesses, not just those with certain socioeconomic designations. And critically, the SBA’s proposed mentor-protege program would allow SBA-approved mentor-protege joint ventures to qualify as “small” for any federal government prime contract or subcontract–a benefit currently available only to 8(a) companies.
Large businesses’ subcontracting plans would be subject to stricter compliance standards under a SBA proposed rule introduced December 29.
The intent of the new regulations is to compel prime contractors to make good faith efforts to comply with their subcontracting plans by implementing reporting mechanisms and harsher penalties for fraudulent actions or actions made in bad faith. Small businesses subcontractors are likely to agree that these are positive changes.
The ostensible subcontractor affiliation rule would be modified to include an exception for “similarly situated” entities serving as subcontractors, if a recent rule change proposed by the SBA goes into effect.
Under the SBA’s proposal, a small business would be exempt from ostensible subcontractor affiliation with another small business for a small business set-aside contract, an 8(a) participant with another 8(a) participant for an 8(a) set-aside contract, and so on.