GAO Sustains Protest Where Agency Fails to Properly Justify “Brand Name Only” Requirement

When an agency restricts a solicitation to a single brand-name, the agency must appropriately justify its decision, even where the solicitation is competed among holders of a governmentwide acquisition contract.

In a recent case, the GAO sustained a protest, holding that an agency violated the FAR by failing to properly justify its brand-name restriction.

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Celebrating the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Today we celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. After King’s death, U.S. Representative John Conyers and U.S. Senator Edward Brooke introduced a bill in Congress to make King’s birthday a national holiday. The holiday was observed for the first time on January 20, 1986.

We remember Dr. King as a fierce advocate for the betterment of all people. Honor his memory by organizing, volunteering, and thinking about Dr. King’s legacy today and throughout the year.

SmallGovCon Week in Review: January 10-14, 2022

Greetings, Readers. We hope your 2022 is off to a great start and your new year resolutions haven’t been kicked to the curb, as of yet. We are excited about the Wild Card Playoff game this weekend between our Kansas City Chiefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s been a wild ride this season but the Chiefs are playing very well and we hope to see them return to another super bowl.

There was a lot of news in federal government contracting, this week and we are excited that our very own, Kevin Wickliffe was quoted in an article about the changes from Indian Health Service that strengthen support for native Americans and Alaskan natives. You can read the full article below as well as other news in federal government contracting.

Have a great weekend and go Chiefs!!!

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SBA Eliminates Use of Product Service Codes For Nonmanufacturer Rule Class Waivers

As January 5, 2022, SBA will no longer use Product Service Codes (PSCs) to classify products covered by class waivers for the nonmanufacturer rule. SBA’s rationale for discontinuing PSC’s to classify class waivers is to “improve consistency in the application of class waiver.” SBA will use North American Industry Classification System codes (NAICS) as its sole classification system to identify products covered by class waivers going forward. Notification of the change of SBA’s rule was published in the Federal Register on December 6, 2021.

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GAO Tested SBA on its Tribal 8(a) Verification Process and Found It Mostly Held Up

Federal and state-recognized Indian tribes and members of such tribes are presumptively socially disadvantaged, and if tribal association is verified, no further information is needed to verify social disadvantage for a Small Business Association (SBA) 8(a) program application. However, in 2021, the SBA Office of Inspector General (OIG) reported that, although the process for awarding 8(a) program status involves a multi-level eligibility review, the SBA does not have a formal verification procedure for verifying the federal or state-recognized status of Indian tribes associated with tribal applications. As such, GAO was asked to evaluate the SBA’s verification of 8(a) applications claiming federal or state-recognized tribal association. The following is a summary of those findings. 

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Webinar Event: Pub K Annual Review Panel – Small Business Contracting Panel

Equity Partner Shane McCall, will be one of three panelists presenting a joint webinar hosted by Pub K. The Pub K Annual Review is always a great event and there are many other interesting panels going on as well. Small business topics covered in the webinar include: increasing small business participation, regulatory updates, and joint venture issues.

The event takes place on January 26 from 2:00 – 2:50 PM (CST) / 3:00 PM – 3:50 PM EST and registration is open here. Come join us!

Appeals Court Upholds Preliminary Injunction on COVID-19 Federal Contractor Vaccine Mandate

On Wednesday, January 5, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued another setback to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal government contractors. In its opinion, the four-judge panel upheld the November 30, 2021 preliminary injunction and denied the Government’s request to stay the injunction “because the government has established none of the showings required to obtain a stay.” On appeal, the government asserted that the three states involved, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee, and two Ohio sheriffs’ offices which brought the initial claim did not have standing to bring such a case. Additionally, the government argued that even if there was standing, the Property Act authorizes the contractor mandate. However, the Court of Appeals determined all plaintiffs established standing based on four elements and held the Property Act does not authorize the President to take such action.

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