Despite a longstanding and very common misconception, the VA’s SDVOSB verification requirement doesn’t apply to non-VA SDVOSB contracts.
As the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals recently reiterated, it was “simply not correct” to believe that a company was required to be verified in VetBiz to be awarded a non-VA SDVOSB contract.
A protester contending that the VA violated the “rule of two” by failing to set-aside a solicitation for SDVOSBs must present sufficient facts to indicate that the VA should have had a reasonable expectation of receiving two or more offers from SDVOSBs at fair and reasonable prices.
In a recent decision, the Court of Federal Claims dismissed a rule of two challenge because, according to the Court, the protester only identified one SDVOSB–itself–that was likely to submit an offer at a fair and reasonable price.
The VA has released an Acquisition Policy Flash providing guidance to VA Contracting Officers on implementing the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kingdomware Technologies, Inc. v. United States.
The Policy Flash suggests that the VA is, in fact, moving quickly to implement the Kingdomware decision–and if that’s the case, it is good news for SDVOSBs and VOSBs.
The Kingdomware SDVOSB/VOSB Supreme Court case, which had been scheduled for an oral argument on Monday November 9, is suddenly in a state of limbo. In an order issued today, the Supreme Court yanked the case from its docket. The Court directed the parties to submit briefs on whether the contracts in question have been fully performed, and if so, whether full performance renders the case moot.
For Kingdomware and veteran-owned companies everywhere, this is extremely troubling news. If the Court believes that the case is moot, it will be dismissed–meaning that Kingdomware would lose the war without even getting its day in court.
Briefs from both sides are due November 20, and each side may reply by December 1. I will keep you posted.
Later this year, the Supreme Court will take up the case of Kingdomware Technologies, Inc. v. United States. The Court will decide whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was correct to find that the VA need not give SDVOSBs and VOSBs a contracting preference so long as the VA is meeting its SDVOSB and VOSB goals.
If you follow SmallGovCon, you know my position: I think the Federal Circuit’s ruling was fundamentally flawed. Last week, I spoke with Francis Rose of Federal News Radio about the case. Click here to listen to my interview with Francis, and be sure to tune in to In Depth With Francis Rose weekdays from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eastern on Federal News Radio.
Is the Department of Veterans Affairs required to prioritize service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (“SDVOSBs”) when it buys supplies and services? That, essentially, will be the question before the Supreme Court when it takes up the case of Kingdomware Technologies, Inc. vs. United States. On June 22, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Kingdomware will end a long-running battle between the VA and various SDVOSBs, which have accused the VA of creating loopholes to avoid a statutory contracting preference for veterans. Hopefully, the Court will get it right. As a matter of policy and law, the underlying decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is fundamentally flawed.
Even if the VA Center for Verification and Evaluation has found that a service-disabled veteran “unconditionally” controls a SDVOSB, the SBA may nonetheless determine that other individuals or entities also control the company within the meaning of the SBA’s affiliation rules.
As demonstrated by a recent decision of the SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals, VA CVE verification does not shield a SDVOSB from an adverse SBA affiliation determination, even if that determination is based on a finding that non-veterans control the company.