GAO Bid Protest Effectiveness Hits 47%–So Why Doesn’t Bid Protest “Reform” Address Government Shortcomings?

GAO bid protests succeeded almost half the time in Fiscal Year 2017.

According to the GAO’s latest Bid Protest Annual Report, the effectiveness rate of GAO bid protests was 47% in the recently-completed fiscal year.  The statistics are striking, because they come just as Congress is finalizing the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes measures aimed at reducing bid protests.  But with bid protests succeeding at a nearly 50% clip, why does the protest “reform” debate seem to center almost entirely on discouraging contractors to protest, rather than on decreasing the number of flawed source selection evaluations?

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VA Withdraws Proposed SDVOSB Regulatory Overhaul

The VA has officially withdrawn its November 2015 proposal to overhaul its SDVOSB and VOSB regulations.

The VA’s action isn’t surprising, given that the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act requires the VA to work with the SBA to prepare a consolidated set of SDVOSB regulations, which will then apply to both VA and non-VA procurements.  What’s interesting, though, is that the VA doesn’t say that it’s withdrawing the 2015 proposal because of the 2017 NDAA, but rather because of numerous objections to the proposal–including objections from the SBA.

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Senate 2018 NDAA Re-Introduces Flawed GAO Bid Protest “Reforms”

Last year, during consideration of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, the Senate proposed to “reform” the GAO bid protest process by forcing some unsuccessful protesters to pay the government’s costs, and (more controversially) by denying incumbent protesters profits on bridge contracts and extensions.

Congress ultimately chose not to implement these measures.  Instead, Congress called for an independent report on the effect of bid protests at DoD–a wise move, considering that major reforms to the protest process shouldn’t be undertaken without first seeing whether hard data shows that protests are harming the procurement process.

But now, six months before that report is due, the Senate has re-introduced its flawed bid protest proposals as part of the 2018 NDAA.

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DoD Micro-Purchase Increase Is Now In Effect

The increase to DoD’s micro-purchase threshold mandated by the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act is now in effect.

A Class Deviation issued earlier this month provides, effective immediately, that the DoD micro-purchase threshold is $5,000 for many acquisitions.

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Trump: DoD Contracts Should Be Fixed-Price

We previously have written about the trending preference toward fixed-price contracts, and away from cost reimbursement contracts, in defense procurements.  The Defense Department’s supplement to the FAR (known as DFARS), in fact, already includes restrictions on using cost-reimbursement or time and materials contracts.

Now the President has come out in favor of fixed-price defense contracting. In a Time Magazine article published today, President Trump signaled strong support for the fixed-price contracting preference, going so far as to “talk of his plans to renegotiate any future military contracts to make sure they have fixed prices.”

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GovCon Voices: The Good, the Bad and the Just Plain Ugly Changes That Almost Were!

Having been a part of the federal contracting community for close to 30 years, I’ve seen quite a few changes in policy and process that have both improved and degraded the ability of small business concerns to participate as contractors and subcontractors. I’m not referring solely to changes where the language targeted small business, I’m also including those intending to change how business is done based on a specific commodity, contract cost type, procurement method, agency mission or government-wide initiative.

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Introducing GovCon Voices: A New SmallGovCon Feature

 

In the nearly five years (and almost 1,000 posts) since SmallGovCon began publishing, we’ve grown from a single-author blog written by yours truly, to a multi-author website featuring regular contributions from my colleagues here at Koprince Law LLC.

Growing our authorship base has allowed SmallGovCon to bring our readers expanded content that would have been very difficult for me to manage alone–like the 16 posts we wrote on the 2017 NDAA in little over a month. But as we continue to grow, I think it’s important that we also offer our readers expanded perspectives, as well.  After all, we lawyers aren’t the only ones with interesting things to say about government contracting law.  That’s why I’m excited to announce our new feature, GovCon Voices.

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