SmallGovCon: Week in Review May 31-June 4, 2021

Happy Friday blog readers! Can you believe that it is already June? The sunshine and warmer temperatures have returned here in the Midwest and I, for one, am grateful for it. We hope you can get out and enjoy the sunshine this weekend.

There has been a lot of activity in the federal government contracting arena this week. Some noteworthy items are the announcements from the Biden administration concerning agency hiring initiatives, a 5% increase in federal contracts set asides for small disadvantaged businesses, and legislation that will examine if federal agencies should relocate from Washington D.C. Read on for all the details. We hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program Now Closed

SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans provided nearly $800 billion dollars of crucial financial support to over 8.5 million businesses and nonprofit organizations in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. But as the proverb goes, “all good things must come to an end.” SBA closed the PPP doors to new loan guaranty applications at the end of May 2021 and released a closing statement on the program’s success.

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DoD Proposes DFARS Amendment to Enhance Debriefings

Receiving a notice that a competitor received an award can be a punch to the gut. This feeling is compounded when the requested debriefing is short on details. Offerors are normally left with more questions than answers.

The DoD has proposed to amend the DFARS to enhance debriefings in certain procurements. The correct amount of information in a debriefing is an ever-moving target; hopefully, this new proposed amendment will be a step in the right direction.

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The CIO-SP4 RFP Allows Broad Past Performance Information–But Does It Go Too Far?

One of my major concerns with the draft solicitation for the CIO-SP4 GWAC was the limited nature of the past performance NITAAC intended to consider. Under the draft RFP, NITAAC would not have considered the past performance of subcontractors–something I believed violated 13 C.F.R. 125.2(g) in certain cases, and was contrary to the guidance of FAR 15.305(a)(2)(iii), which says that agencies “should” consider the past performance of “subcontractors that will perform major or critical aspects of the requirement.”

The good news is that the final CIO-SP4 RFP fixes this problem. That’s a relief for a lot of potential offerors. But now I’m concerned that NITAAC went too far in the other direction!

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SmallGovCon Week In Review: May 24-28

As we prepare for a long Memorial Day weekend, let us not forget to honor and thank all those that have served and continue to serve our country. Memorial Day is a day of reflection for those that have come before us and paved the way for our sacred freedoms that are often taken for granted. A big thank you to all of our veterans and active duty military. We see you, we honor you and we appreciate you greatly. Thank you for your service.

“As we express our gratitude we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter the words, but to live by them.” -John F. Kennedy

We hope you a have a wonderful and reflective Memorial Day weekend. Here are a few noteworthy happenings in federal government contracting this week, including an upcoming SBA update on the pending SDVOSB governmentwide certification, the launch of the new SAM website, a timeline for CMMC assessor training, and more.

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Debriefing Exception to Protest Timeliness Rule Doesn’t Apply to SBIR Procurements, Period

Equitus Corporation was sure it was following the right procedures when it requested a debriefing after receiving a letter stating its proposal under an Air Force Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) solicitation had been rejected. The Air Force even provided the debriefing as requested, and Equitus filed a protest less than 10 days later. However, they made an easy-to-miss but crucial error that resulted in dismissal of their protest.

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The “Three-in-Two” SBA Joint Venture Rule is Partly Gone–Now It’s Time to Get Rid of the Rest

Last year, SBA made joint venturing a little easier by relaxing the so-called “three-in-two” rule. But the “two-year” portion of the rule still exists–and in my view, the rule continues to unfairly elevate form over substance.

SBA, it’s time to take the plunge, and get rid of the rest of the three-in-two joint venture rule.

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