Alert: SBA Issues Final Rule on Consolidation of Mentor-Protégé Programs and Other Contracting Rules

As we discussed, in late 2019 the SBA issued a proposed rule that would make a number of significant changes to the mentor-protege programs and other small business contracting rules. Well, the SBA will soon issue its final rule on these changes, so make sure you are aware of the new rules.

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Limitations on Subcontracting: Step-by-Step, Plain English Guides

In my legal career representing hundreds of small businesses in government contracting, few topics have caused as much confusion as the limitations on how much work can be subcontracted on small business set-aside contracts and sole source contracts (like 8(a) Program direct awards).

Earlier, working with my friends at Govology, I put together step-by-step compliance guides for service contractors, construction contractors, manufacturers, and nonmanufacturers. Each guide is written in plain English and includes examples to help demonstrate how the SBA’s limitations on subcontracting rule (13 C.F.R. 125.6) works in practice.

Here’s where to find my limitations on subcontracting guides:

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Whose Jurisdiction is it Anyways? GAO Dismisses Size Challenge

GAO recently dismissed a protest to an awardee’s eligibility under the applicable size standard. The protester argued that the agency should have known that the awardee exceeded the nonmanufacturer rule’s 500-employee maximum. After extensive briefing from both parties and from the SBA itself, GAO found that the awardee’s proposal didn’t raise any issues and that it was really up to the SBA to decide the size issues anyway.

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Raising the Roofs . . . and Floors: Acquisition Thresholds in the Time of Emergency

As many contractors have heard, the President declared a state of emergency under the Stafford Act. What will this mean for acquisitions conducted while the COVID-19 emergency continues?

In this post, I’ll dig into some contractor-specific effects of that declaration: modifying the micro-purchase, simplified acquisition, and commercial purchase acquisition thresholds.

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We Can Work It Out? Proposed Class Waiver of Nonmanufacturer Rule for Exercise Equipment

Following up on its proposed waiver of the nonmanufacturer rule for laptops in December (which we covered here), the SBA is now proposing waivers for exercise equipment, sophisticated walkie-talkies, and more.

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Laptops to Get Nonmanufacturer Rule Waiver?

The SBA said recently that it intends to issue a class waiver of the Nonmanufacturer Rule for laptop and tablet computers, freeing up small businesses to resell these products in bulk to the federal government.

The SBA recently announced its intent in the Federal Register, giving the public the opportunity to comment early in the New Year.

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GAO: Trade Agreements Act Inapplicable to Small Business Set-Asides

It’s no secret that federal government contracting has the reputation of being a seemingly endless morass of regulations. In fact, the confusion frequently associated with federal contracting was on full display in a recent GAO protest that implicated the SBA’s nonmanufacturer rule, the Buy American Act, and the Trade Agreements Act. In a procurement that invited bids from both large and small businesses, a large business contractor argued that the application of certain small business contracting regulations would unfairly advantage the small business participants.

GAO disagreed, and dismissed the protest because any advantage was the result of the regulations operating as intended. Sometimes it pays to be a small business.

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