You probably know this already—from what we can tell word is spreading like wildfire—but Monday (Dec. 17, 2018) the president signed the “Small Business Runway Extension Act of 2018” into law.
This changes the period of time the U.S. Small Business Administration uses to measure a business’s size in revenue-based size standards from three years to five years. The law doesn’t say that there will be a period of implementation, so it’s reasonably safe to assume the effect is immediate.
With the stroke of a pen, Congress may have just paved the way for some soon-to-be large businesses to remain small for longer.
Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have passed a bill that would amend the Small Business Act to change the period of measurement used to determine the size of a business from three years to five. The bill awaits the president’s signature to become law.
For small government contractors, the disconnect between the SBA’s updated limitations on subcontracting rule and the FAR’s outdated rules has been very confusing. For more than two years, the FAR and SBA regulation have used different formulas to determine compliance, and the SBA rule–but not the FAR–allows the use of “similarly situated entities” on small business set-asides and 8(a) contracts.
This has created major headaches for small businesses, who have had no definitive answer to what should be a simple question: “which rule do I follow?” Now, finally, there is some important progress to report in clearing up this discrepancy: yesterday, the FAR Council issued a proposed rule to update the FAR’s limitations on subcontracting provisions and conform them to the SBA’s rule.
Over the last few years, SmallGovCon has covered the Congressionally-mandated march away from use of lowest-price technically-acceptable procurements at the Department of Defense. But although Congress has restricted when DOD might use LPTA criteria, the Department has not followed this mandate.
A recent GAO report highlights DOD’s struggle. As of September 2018, DOD has not yet revised its regulations to reflect certain statutory restrictions against LPTA awards and, as a result, DOD contracting officers believe they are not yet required to follow these new requirements.
Candidly, I’m not so sure. But in any event, GAO’s report issued a couple of recommendations to help DOD fully implement the restrictions against LPTA procurements.
Let’s take a look.
If, like us, you spend your days reading through the FAR, you might suppose that there are opportunities to streamline the regulations. Congress agreed, at least for DOD acquisitions, and as part of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, created the Section 809 panel, an independent advisory panel on streamlining acquisition regulations. The panel is working to improve many aspects of acquisitions law, including, as we’ve written about, the definition of subcontract.
A recent, small (but helpful) recommendation was the elimination of a FAR clause involving the $1 coin.
Big changes could be coming to the HUBZone program. On October 31, the SBA published a proposed rule that, if adopted, would bring clarity to the HUBZone regulations. Yesterday, we posted about proposed changes to the HUBZone certification, compliance, and protest processes.
In this post, we wanted to bring you up to speed on some of the more substantive revisions to the way HUBZone employees are defined and counted under the proposed rule.
When GAO lacks jurisdiction to hear a protest over a task or delivery order, contractors have the right to complain to an ombudsman. Implementation of the ombudsman right, however, has been haphazard at best.
Last week, the DoD, GSA, and NASA–the entities comprising the FAR Council–proposed a rule to help alleviate this issue for IDIQ contracts.