Sole-Source Options for Agencies During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The current COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the federal government to take drastic measures. It has altered many aspects of federal contracting for contractors and agencies alike. During these trying times, agencies also have the authority to streamline some contracting procedures. Let’s take a look.

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Federal Supply Schedule Acquisitions Require Price Comparisons to Determine Lowest Overall Cost, Says GAO

In a recent protest, GAO examined the rules for price evaluation and source selection methodology required under the Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) Program. At a minimum, an agency must perform price comparisons to evaluate what vendor will be lowest cost along with any additional features and benefits to the government. Because the FSS solicitation at issue failed to include proper price evaluation terms, GAO sustained a challenge to those terms.

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Federal Government Contractors Can Use Electronic Signatures for Claim Certifications, ASBCA Says

Despite technological advance, some (perhaps even you) still cling to the notion that a signature, written by a human hand, is the only official kind. In other words, if a person doesn’t personally affix her “John Hancock” in cursive script or some other creative form, then the document really isn’t signed. If this thought sounds familiar, I’m here to liberate you. You are no longer bound like a medieval prisoner to your tube filled with ink. You can use an electronic signature in your contract work with the U.S. Government, including certifications connected to claims submitted under the Contract Disputes Act.

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OHA Lacks Jurisdiction for NAICS Appeal of GPO Procurement on VA’s Behalf

OHA recently confirmed that it lacked jurisdiction to decide a NAICS code appeal regarding a GPO procurement, even though that procurement was conducted on behalf on the VA. OHA’s dismissal was based on the fact that GPO, a legislative branch agency, is not subject to the same rules as the executive agencies.

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FAR Update Will Limit use of LPTA in Non-DOD Procurements

A quick update on a proposed FAR rule that will put in place restrictions on use of lowest-price, technically acceptable (LPTA) solicitations in non-DOD agencies, as mandated in the 2019 NDAA. There are a few differences from the similar rule that recently went into effect for DOD.

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Proposed FAR Update to Allow Small Business Set-Asides for Contracts Outside USA

Traditionally, small business set-asides are not utilized in Federal contracts performed outside the United States. The SBA allows for contracts performed outside the United States to use set-asides or sole-source awards, but the FAR does not reflect this. Recently, the Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and NASA have proposed an update the FAR that would reflect the allowance of small business set-asides and sole-source awards in contracts performed outside of the United States. 

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Contractors Beware: Government Bans Certain Telecommunications Equipment Effective August 13, 2019

Cybersecurity is a key concern of the federal government, which means that it should be a key concern for federal contractors, too.

To address a perceived cybersecurity risk, the 2019 NDAA prohibited the government from buying telecommunications devices produced by certain companies—namely, Huawei Technologies, ZTE Corporation, or any of their subsidiaries. In a proposed rule announced this week, this ban will be effective beginning August 13, 2019.

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