The House and Senate have passed the “Small Business Runway Extension Act of 2018,” which appears poised to become law in the coming days. As my colleague Matt Moriarty has written, the bill would amend the SBA’s small business size rules to use a five-year average, instead of a three-year average, in calculations using receipts-based size standards.
The purpose of the bill is to help contractors avoid becoming “other than small” following a period of quick growth, but not all companies will benefit. For companies with declining revenues, the bill may backfire, causing those companies to be stuck as large businesses longer.
Unless a solicitation for a fixed-price contract provides that the agency can conduct a price realism analysis, it can’t. Even so, agencies sometimes perform this analysis without alerting prospective offerors of the possibility.
If they do, however, the ground is fertile for a protest.
But for HUBZone Program participants, the proposed rule and DoD deviation contain a glaring problem: a requirement that the HUBZone member of a joint venture take sole responsibility for meeting the applicable limitations on subcontracting. This requirement, which doesn’t apply to joint venturers in other socioeconomic programs, is unfair to HUBZones, and at odds with SBA regulations.
Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to hear a case that could have far reaching implications in agency law—including for government contractors. The Court granted certiorari to a case that could greatly diminish the amount of deference given to agencies interpreting their own regulations.
For contractors, a Supreme Court decision to curtail agency deference could lead to increased success rates in bid protests and other disputes.
Last week I had the wonderful experience of giving several presentations at the 13th Annual Veterans Business Conference on base at Fort Bliss (El Paso, Texas). The conference was an excellent opportunity for veteran business owners to come together and learn about opportunities.
Organized by the Contract Opportunities Center, the event brought together small businesses and government agencies to meet and learn about wide-ranging topics. I was given the opportunity to discuss the All Small Mentor-Protege Program and joint venturing, size and affiliation issues, and provide the lunch audience with an update on the whirlwind of changes occurring as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Small Business Administration work to combine their two Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business programs. If you were there and have questions, please reach out.
We all got to listen to the incredibly moving speech of Justin Constantine, retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. His tale, and the lessons he learned, is certainly one worth taking to heart.
Thanks especially to Pablo Armendariz and Melissa Murphy for their steady hand on the wheel. Hope to see you all again soon.
Earlier this week, the FAR Council issued a proposed rule to conform the FAR to the SBA’s regulation governing limitations on subcontracting. But the DoD isn’t waiting around while the FAR Council finishes the process.
The DoD has issued a comprehensive FAR deviation, effective immediately. The DoD’s FAR deviation will, effectively, temporarily conform the DoD’s use of the FAR to the SBA’s regulation while the FAR Council works on a final rule.