As recently as May, the Department of Veterans Affairs told a nonprofit helping to employ blind workers that it intended to renew its contract. The organization was shocked, therefore, when on July 30, the VA issued a notice of award to a service-disabled veteran-owned small business. To make matters worse, the nonprofit’s GAO protest of the award was promptly dismissed for being untimely.
This week, GSA announced it is on track to debut its Consolidated Multiple Acquisition Schedule (MAS) Program Schedule Solicitation on October 1. GSA also gave federal contractors planning to bid on the MAS a head start on the process by releasing a final draft solicitation and an updated industry FAQs sheet. Let’s take a look at how to utilize this opportunity to prepare for the solicitation’s long-awaited debut.
There’s a scene in 2016’s War Dogs where the Jonah Hill character explains to his employees that they are going to spend all day every day digging through one website. In the background, extras are seen staring in to the blue and yellow glow of FedBizOpps.gov.
“Oh my god,” I exclaimed from my couch to no one in particular. “I use that website every day—it’s terrible.”
GAO recently sustained protest to an agency’s FAR Part 13 procurement that relied exclusively on CPARS-generated assessment chart rating percentages to evaluate vendors’ past performance. The agency’s goal was to “maximize competition” by considering all past work, rather than just relevant work. While there is no FAR Part 13 regulatory prohibition on doing so, GAO found the CPARS charts incomplete and misleading and the evaluation inconsistent with the terms of the solicitation.
The Runway Extension Act has been a hot topic for federal
government contractors. And as of this writing, the issue of the Act’s
effectiveness hasn’t been conclusively decided—though SBA says the Act isn’t
yet effective, others (including us, in various posts on this blog) have
disagreed with this analysis. A recent GAO decision decided a protest based on
the Runway Extension Act.
As we wrote about, the Section 809 Panel had recommended that Congress eliminate most small business set-asides for DoD acquisitions. The Panel suggested replacing small business set-asides with a five percent small business price preference. It looks like Congress heard our concerns—and those voiced throughout industry—and will reject this suggestion.
Traditionally, small business set-asides are not utilized in Federal contracts performed outside the United States. The SBA allows for contracts performed outside the United States to use set-asides or sole-source awards, but the FAR does not reflect this. Recently, the Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and NASA have proposed an update the FAR that would reflect the allowance of small business set-asides and sole-source awards in contracts performed outside of the United States.