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.
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.
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.