House Passes 2020 NDAA

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.

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8(a) Program: Utah SBA Imposes Tough New Restrictions on JVs & MPAs

The SBA’s Utah District Office has imposed tough new restrictions on the approval of 8(a) mentor-protege agreements and joint ventures.

The Utah SBA obviously hopes that these restrictions will lead to more successful 8(a) mentor-protege and joint venture relationships–but I worry that these District-specific restrictions may backfire, and put Utah 8(a)s at a significant competitive disadvantage against 8(a)s serviced by other SBA District Offices.

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SBA Proposes Credit For Lower-Tier Subcontracts

Large prime contractors operating under individual subcontracting plans would receive credit for small businesses performing at any subcontracting tier, according to a proposed rule issued yesterday by the SBA.

The proposed rule also requires large primes to assign a NAICS code and size standard to “solicitations” for subcontracts–a notion that may come as a surprise to prime contractors, many of whom do not typically issue formal subcontract solicitations.

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Sorry, Subcontractor: No SBA Size Appeal For You

When the SBA found a subcontractor to be affiliated with its prime contractor under the ostensible subcontractor rule, the subcontractor could not appeal the SBA’s finding to the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals.

In a recent size appeal decision, OHA held that a subcontractor lacks the ability to file a size appeal because the subcontractor is not directly affected by the size determination.

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Subcontractor Price Proposals: A Cautionary Tale

Subcontractors sometimes prefer to submit their cost or price proposals directly to the government, instead of submitting their cost or pricing information through the prime contractor.  In cases where a procuring agency allows it, such independent submissions can ease a subcontractor’s concerns about disclosing sensitive information to the prime contractor.

But when a subcontractor circumvents the prime contractor and independently submits its pricing, the prime contractor is unable to review the subcontractor’s proposal to ensure that it complies with the terms of the solicitation.  As demonstrated in a recent GAO bid protest decision, if the subcontractor’s proposal is non-compliant, the entire team may pay the price.

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Large Business Tossed Out For Low Subcontracting Goal

A large business was tossed out of a government competition because the company’s small business subcontracting goal was substantially below the agency’s stated goal.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that the agency acted reasonably when it rated the large business as “unacceptable” for failing to propose a sufficiently high small business subcontracting goal.

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Limitations on Subcontracting: SBA Proposes Sweeping Changes

The limitations on subcontracting would undergo sweeping changes under a recent SBA proposal.

On December 29, the SBA issued a proposed rule to enact the changes implemented by Congress in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013–including a thorough re-write of the way that compliance with the subcontracting limits is calculated and enforced.

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