VA Updates Guidance on SDVOSB Joint Ventures, Fixes Error

As of September 2019, the VA has updated its Verification Assistance Brief on SDVOSB joint ventures. The old assistance brief was last revised in 2017 and contained some incorrect information. To its credit, this update removes the wrong info and it contains some additional guidance that could be helpful for SDVOSB joint venture members.

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GAO: VA Rule of Two Doesn’t Apply if Pricing Isn’t Reasonable

GAO recently gave its blessing to a VA decision not to follow the Rule of Two, despite knowing several SDVOSBs would bid. The VA’s decision was based on the contracting officer’s opinion that prices would not be fair and reasonable based on an evaluation of prices and market research. The decision is important for providing some clarification on what research a contracting officer must undertake to establish that prices will not be fair and reasonable for purposes of the Rule of Two.

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House Passes Bill to Increase Potential Size of Sole Source Awards

Amidst the news cycle focusing on the government shutdown, there is some other action in the House of Representatives that recently caught our eye.

The House recently passed a bill called the “Expanding Contracting Opportunities for Small Businesses Act of 2019.” If the bill becomes law, we will see a dramatic expansion in the size of sole source contracts for SDVOSBs, WOSBs, and HUBZones.

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Government-Wide SDVOSB Certification: More Details on New Bill

I’ve long predicted that Congress would eventually adopt a formal, Government-wide SDVOSB certification program (or “verification” program, if you prefer).  Maybe my crystal ball is finally right.  As my colleague Matt Schoonover wrote last week, a new bill introduced in the House of Representatives would do just that.

The full text of the bill has now been published.  Here are some of the key details of the Government-wide SDVOSB certification proposal.

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VetBiz Verification Not Required For Non-VA SDVOSB Contracts, SBA OHA Reiterates

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.

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SBA Proposes Consolidated SDVOSB Eligibility Rules

The SBA has released its proposed consolidated rule for SDVOSB eligibility, which was published in the Federal Register today.  Once the rule becomes final, it will apply government-wide, to both VA and non-VA SDVOSB contracts.

For SDVOSBs, a uniform set of rules is a very good thing.  There has been far too much chaos and confusion under the current system, in which the SBA and VA have different SDVOSB eligibility requirements.  But how about the substance of the proposal itself?  Well, there are certainly some things to like–and some areas that could use improvement.

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Court Upholds “Draconian and Perverse” SBA SDVOSB Ownership Rules

The SBA’s strict SDVOSB ownership rules can produce “draconian and perverse” results, but are nonetheless legal, according to a federal judge.

In a recent decision, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims condemned the SBA’s SDVOSB unconditional ownership requirements, while holding that the SBA was within its legal rights to impose those requirements on the company in question.

The Court’s decision emphasizes the important differences between the SBA and VA SDVOSB programs, because the Court held that although the company in question didn’t qualify as an SDVOSB under the SBA’s strict rules, it was eligible for VA SDVOSB verification under the VA’s separate eligibility rules.

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