Congress Expected to Reject Section 809 Panel Recommendation to Eliminate Small Business Set-Asides

As we wrote about, the Section 809 Panel had recommended that Congress eliminate most small business set-asides for DoD acquisitions. The Panel suggested replacing small business set-asides with a five percent small business price preference. It looks like Congress heard our concerns—and those voiced throughout industry—and will reject this suggestion.

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Section 809 Panel Recommends Increased Flexibility of Time Frame to Spend DOD Contract Dollars

As we’ve written about before, the Section 809 Panel is the Congressionally-mandated group that has made a number of far-reaching recommendations to change current programs that affect DOD acquisitions.

The third volume of the Panel’s recommendations, stretching over 500 pages, includes a recommendation that DOD be granted additional flexibility to spend its appropriated dollars from Congress. As the Panel puts it, Congress should “[p]rovide increased flexibility to the time periods within which contract obligations are permitted to occur.”

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Section 809 Panel Recommends Changes to Domestic Purchase Preferences

The Section 809 panel is the Congressionally-mandated group that has made a number of far-reaching recommendations to change current programs that affect DOD acquisitions.

Another one of their ideas is to eliminate certain domestic purchasing preferences by having Congress create exceptions for DOD purchases and create a public interest exception for the Berry Amendment. The panel’s concern is that the purchasing restrictions can result in higher prices, reduced volume, or delivery delays.

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“Eliminate Most DoD Small Business Set-Asides,” Says Section 809 Panel

The Section 809 Panel has recommended that Congress eliminate most small business set-asides for DoD acquisitions. The Panel would replace the longstanding set-aside system with a meager five percent small business price preference.

For small government contractors, this recommendation is the policy equivalent of a five-alarm fire. Small contractors may need to fight hard to save the set-aside system.

Get ready for a battle.

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Section 809 Panel Recommends Eliminating COFC’s Ability to Consider Protests After GAO’s Resolution

Among its suggestions to streamline the acquisition process, the Section 809 Panel has proposed to eliminate the ability to file a protest at GAO and the Court of Federal Claims. Instead, the Panel would require protesters to choose between filing at GAO or the Court.

Let’s take a look.

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Section 809 Panel Recommends Changing “Once 8(a), Always 8(a)” Rule

Under the so-called “once 8(a), always 8(a)” rule set forth in the FAR and SBA regulations, when a procurement has been accepted by the SBA for inclusion in the 8(a) Program, any follow-on contract generally must remain in the 8(a) Program, unless the SBA agrees to release it for non-8(a) competition.

Now, the Section 809 Panel has proposed a modest, but potentially important change to the “once 8(a), always 8(a)” rule–a change that would allow for acquisitions to be removed from the 8(a) Program without the SBA’s explicit consent.

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Section 809 Panel: Congress Should Order Government to Communicate with Contractors

Congress should require Government acquisition personnel to communicate with industry, according to the Section 809 acquisition reform panel.

In the third and final volume in its series on streamlining and improving DoD acquisition processes, the Section 809 Panel takes aim at Government reticence to communicate with industry, and says that merely permitting such communications doesn’t go far enough.

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