The Coronavirus Stimulus Package Could do More for Small Business Contractors

Congress is expected to pass a huge coronavirus stimulus package in the coming days. While lobbyists and congressional staffers wrestle over the last bits and pieces to find their way in to the bill, there seems to be a pretty important group left out—small business federal contractors.

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DoD Proposes Updating DFARS With 15-Day “Prompt Payment” Rules

The Department of Defense awarded contracts to an average 30,806 small businesses each year in fiscal year 2016, 2017, and 2018. A proposed rule to update the DFARS may lead to these same businesses receiving payments from the government, or prime contractors, within 15 days of invoicing.

The proposed rule is found at 84 FR 25225. It was published on May 31, 2019 and comments close on July 30, 2019 if you’d like to put in your two cents.

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Termination For Default: The “No Reasonable Likelihood” Standard

Sometimes you may find yourself running late. It happens to the best of us for a multitude of reasons. But what happens to federal contractors when they are running late in performing under a contract and there is “no reasonable likelihood” of timely performance?

Unfortunately for contractors in this position, as illustrated by a recent Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA) decision, the result may be a default termination.

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OMB Pushes Prompt Payment To Small Subcontractors

Small subcontractors sometimes find themselves facing a cash flow crunch when they take on new work.  Under some subcontract payment clauses, a small subcontractor might not be entitled to payment until 30 days or more after the prime contractor receives payment from the government for the subcontractor’s work.  Even subcontracts with more generous payment terms often require small subcontractors to make significant up-front investments in terms of employee salaries, materials, and the like before receiving payment.

The Office of Management and Budget apparently recognizes that there is a problem, because yesterday OMB issued a memorandum entitled “Providing Prompt Payment to Small Business Subcontractors,” setting forth three steps the government is taking to address the matter.  One of these steps–if it comes to fruition–may even have some “teeth.”

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