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 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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FAR Final Rule: Increased Micro-Purchase and Simplified Acquisition Thresholds

The Federal Acquisition Regulation has officially been updated to increase the micro-purchase threshold and the simplified acquisition threshold, effective August 31, 2020. Various federal agencies had already increased the thresholds through deviations, but this rule makes it official across the board. A few additional thresholds will increase due to inflation. Read on for the details on how this could impact federal procurement.

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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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Section 809 Panel Achieves $1 Coin Clause Removal

If, like us, you spend your days reading through the FAR, you might suppose that there are opportunities to streamline the regulations. Congress agreed, at least for DOD acquisitions, and as part of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, created the Section 809 panel, an independent advisory panel on streamlining acquisition regulations. The panel is working to improve many aspects of acquisitions law, including, as we’ve written about, the definition of subcontract.

A recent, small (but helpful) recommendation was the elimination of a FAR clause involving the $1 coin.

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Late Solicitation Amendment Requires Cancellation Only If “Substantial”

An agency may amend a solicitation after the deadline for receiving offers, so long as the amendment is not “so substantial as to exceed what prospective offerors reasonably could have anticipated” in submitting offers under the original solicitation.

This rule, which is codified at FAR 15.206(e), was at issue in a recent GAO bid protest decision, in which the GAO held that the amendment merely clarified the original solicitation and thus did not require cancellation.

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R U Compliant? FAR Bans Texting While Driving

Working on a government contract?  Put down that cell phone, at least when you are in the car.   In case you didn’t realize it, the FAR essentially bans texting while driving (although what penalties you might face for violating this policy, if any, are unclear).

Under FAR 23.1105 and FAR 52.223-18, which is to be included in every contract, a government contractor “should” adopt and enforce a policy banning texting whenever an employee is: (1) driving a vehicle owned or rented by the company; (2) driving a vehicle owned by the government; or (3) driving a privately owned vehicle when performing any work on behalf of the government.

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