Buy American Act Thresholds Are Going Up

As we’ve written about, it seems like there have been more changes to the Buy American Act and domestic preferences in the last few years than in decades before that. Recently, the FAR Council issued a final rule that spells out how the domestic content thresholds will increase over the next few years. This rule is effective October 25, 2022, so contractors need to be preparing for it now.

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FAR Council Seeks to Address Climate Change in Federal Contracting

In response to an Executive Order, the FAR Council has recently proposed to amend the FAR in an effort to ensure that major federal procurements will minimize the risk of climate change. And DoD, GSA, and NASA sought the public’s input on the issue. Let’s take a closer look.

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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: Tips for Understanding and Using the FAR

Government contracting officials receive detailed training on the FAR. So do employees of some large contractors. But for many others in government contracting, particularly small businesses, there is no formal FAR training. For them, the FAR can seem overwhelming, even scary.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it: the FAR is massive. In print form, which is how I read the FAR early in my career, you’re looking at a veritable brick of a book. You’d undoubtedly get some very nice definition by using copies of the FAR for bicep curls.

But, big as it is, the FAR isn’t quite as impenetrable as it might seem at first glance–especially if you know a few tricks. Here are my top five tips for understanding and using the FAR.

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Update: FAR Final Rule Puts Limits on LPTA Procurements

Lowest price technically acceptable (LPTA) source selection has been on the decline lately. A recent final rule from the FAR Council, effective February 16, 2021, continues this trend. In the rule, the FAR Council implemented additional restrictions on the use of LPTA for non-DoD contracts.

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FAR Council Implements Interim FAR Rule Prohibiting Contractor Use of Chinese Telecom Products

The FAR Council recently moved forward with implementing provisions of Section 889(a)(1)(B) of the 2019 NDAA through an interim rule. This rule, effective August 13, 2020, furthers the work begun previously of separating the federal government and its contractors from certain Chinese telecom and video surveillance companies.

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