GAO: Agency Has Discretion on Type of Socioeconomic Set-Aside for Procurement

From a recent GAO decision it appears that the ends can, in fact, justify the means; at least when it comes procurement set-asides for HUBZone companies. The decision is Foxhole Technology, Inc. B-419577 (May 12, 2021). In this matter, Foxhole Technology, Inc., a service-disabled veteran-owned small business, protested the Department of Education’s decision to set aside an RFQ to supply cybersecurity services for HUBZone businesses. In its protest, Foxhole argued that the agency’s decision to set aside the procurement for HUBZone small business concerns was based on inadequate market research and was therefore not justified. GAO denied the protest.

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Is the Revision to the FAR’s Limitations on Subcontracting Finally Nearing the Finish Line?

On June 30, 2016, a major new SBA regulation took effect, overhauling the limitations on subcontracting. The SBA’s new regulation, codified at 13 C.F.R. 125.6, replaced the “old” formulas for calculating compliance–like “cost of the contract incurred for personnel,” for service contracts, with new, easier-to-use formulas based on the amount paid by the government. And, in a major boon for small businesses, the SBA’s new regulation allowed small primes to count work performed by “similarly situated entities” toward the prime’s own self-performance.

But more than five years after the SBA regulation took effect, the FAR’s provisions governing the limitations on subcontracting still resemble Marty McFly: stuck in the past. The FAR Council still has not updated the FAR to conform with the SBA’s regulations and the underlying Congressional mandate, causing considerable confusion for contractors trying to figure out which rule to follow.

Now, though, we may finally (hopefully!) be nearing the finish line for this important and long-delayed FAR change.

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Five Things You Should Know: SBA 8(a) Program Potential for Success

SBA requires that its 8(a) Business Development Program applicants demonstrate “reasonable prospects for success in competing in the private sector if admitted to the 8(a) BD program” by meeting a number of criteria. This aptly named potential for success rule is easily one of the most common reasons for 8(a) Program application denials. But even still, it seems to be one of the least understood 8(a) application requirements out there. Below, I dig into some of the most important features of this rule with the top five things you should know.

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CIO-SP4 Amendment 8 – NIH Puts Small Businesses Behind the 8-ball

CIO-SP4 Amendment 7, we barely knew you. Less than a week after Amendment 7 went live, we have another amendment to dig into. What is new in this amendment? We have major changes to Other Than Small Business (OTSB) and Emerging Large Business (ELB) certifications. For small businesses, NIH is digging in its heels on consideration of CTA members.

While we are not sure how long this amendment will last, it puts small businesses behind the 8-ball.

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SmallGovCon Week in Review: July 19-23

Happy Friday, Readers. Can you believe we are heading into the home stretch of July already? We hope you are able to get in some R&R around this time of year. But it was also an important week in the Federal government contracting arena.

Some of the big stories included more oversight from Labor, rules on increasing wages for workers, and increasing opportunities for veterans. You can read more about that and other contracting news in the articles below. Have a great weekend!

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GAO: A Higher Past Performance Rating For One Offeror Does Not Mean a Competitor Was Penalized

It seems like it should go without saying, but, just because an offeror with better evaluation ratings is preferred over one with neutral ratings does not mean the latter offeror was penalized for having neutral ratings, or that the neutral rating was a penalty. Nonetheless, in a recent bid protest a company creatively argued that it was penalized for having neutral ratings, and GAO unsurprisingly rejected it.

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