On Friday, July 12, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.
While this passage may lead to an uncharacteristic political fight over appropriations, contractors will be watching whether the U.S. Senate and House bills ultimately agree upon the less politically-charged sections likely to impact their businesses.
The House and Senate bills both include a lot of the same provisions, including some that we’ve written about previously on SmallGovCon. For example, both include permanent authorization of the Department of Defense Mentor-Protégé Program.
But some other key provisions of the House bill are not in the Senate bill. Those differences will have to go through the process to reach a compromise version and may or may not survive.
For example, the Senate bill does not include a section designed to protect the data rights of contractors challenging a contracting officer’s decision to remove restrictions. The section would repeal section 866 of the 2019 NDAA.
The Senate version also does not include the provision creating a dispute process for subcontractors when the prime contractor fails to pay (now in Section 873). Neither is the requirement that the SBA track whether small businesses receive their fair share of best-in-class contracts, nor the workforce development investment incentives. Also, only the House bill reduces the threshold requiring an enhanced debriefing in certain DoD procurements from $100 million to $50 million. And, only the House called for the amendment to the Small Business Act to instruct the SBA to create a cyber security training program.
The Senate bill also does not include the space matters that the House bill does, specifically the establishment of the Space Corps as part of the Air Force, the prototype multi-global navigation satellite system, the expansion of the proposed satellite regulations, or the focus on ground-based architecture to support space operations.
The compromise process may be long on this NDAA, as it has become uncharacteristically political. But we’ll keep you updated.