SBA Puts “Temporary Pause” on New 8(a) Program Application Submissions

The SBA’s Office of Government Contracting and Business Development, the office that handles the 8(a) Business Development Program applications, has just confirmed that SBA has “temporarily paused” the submission of new 8(a) Program applications in light of the recent decision by the federal district court of the Eastern District of Tennessee.

As we recently blogged about here, on July 19, 2023, the federal district court of the Eastern District of Tennessee enjoined SBA’s 8(a) Program from applying the rebuttable presumption of social disadvantage to members of designated groups (based generally on race/ethnicity). As we discussed in that blog, we anticipate this decision will have significant effects on the 8(a) Program–though the timing, extent, and permanency of those effects is still very much up for speculation and debate at this point in time.

That said, SBA has confirmed that it has temporarily paused the submission of new 8(a) Program applications until further notice. Below is the current notification on the Certify.Gov submission portal (where 8(a) Program applications are submitted):

Also, in that regard, SBA said:

Due to a recent court injunction, the SBA has temporarily paused new 8(a) application submissions at this time. Companies that are currently in the 8(a) program or have pending applications will receive further guidance from SBA as we complete review of this legal decision.

So, SBA appears to be taking the “wait until we tell you otherwise” approach to new 8(a) Program applications. But the above-quote also mentions that SBA plans to update current 8(a) Program participants with further guidance. And as we stated in the prior blog, we are all anxiously awaiting more information on the potential implications the decision could have on both applicant and current 8(a) Program participants.

We understand that SBA has imposed this “pause” in order to make revisions to the applicant questionnaire–and take other necessary steps–to analyze and comply with the federal district court of the Eastern District of Tennessee’s decision and order. But that is really all we know at this time. Stay tuned for further updates.

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