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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Did the FAR Plan For COVID-19? Yes, Sort of

There are not many people or organizations that can say they anticipated the spread of this pandemic disease that is confining million to their homes as part of stay in place orders and self quarantines.

Though the FAR Council did not foresee that the coronavirus and COVID-19 would trap contractors in their homes, it did anticipate that from time to time events completely out of the control of contractors may conspire to affect the performance of contracts—though perhaps not to this magnitude.

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5 Things You Should Know: Disaster Relief Federal Government Contracting

The 2018 Hurricane Season is now in full swing and the damage cost totals continue to rise for our friends on the East Coast. Disasters, like hurricanes, often arise quickly and without much warning, requiring quick responses from the Government and government contractors.

If your small business has been impacted by a natural disaster, or is interested in participating in the rebuilding and relief efforts that follow cataclysmic events by acquiring government contracts, here are five things you should know.

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GAO Clarifies Competition Standards for Simplified Acquisitions

A recent GAO decision has shed light on the question of what an agency must do to adequately promote competition during a simplified acquisition.

There is still no bright line for determining which agency actions meet this threshold.  However, the recent decision in Bluehorse Corp., B-415641 et al. (Feb. 6, 2018), established that merely inquiring about a solicitation, without taking further action as recommended by the procuring agency, is not enough to force an agency to include a company in a limited competition.

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GAO: No “Public Posting” Of Solicitation In Closed Government Office

An agency failed to meet its obligations to properly publicize a simplified acquisition valued between $15,000 and $25,000 where the agency placed the solicitation in a three-ring binder at the reception desk in a government office–and that office was closed during most of the relevant time.

In a recent decision, the GAO affirmed that principle that even when the dollar value of a simplified acquisition doesn’t meet the requirement for electronic posting on FedBizOpps, the agency still must take reasonable steps to maximize competition.

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GAO: “Brand Name Only” Restrictions Must Be Justified

Competition is the touchstone of federal contracting. Except in limited circumstances, agencies are required to procure goods and services through full and open competition. In this regard, an agency’s decision to limit competition to only brand name items must be adequately justified.

GAO recently affirmed this principle in Phoenix Environmental Design, Inc., B-413373 (Oct. 14, 2016), when it sustained a protest challenging the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management’s decision to restrict its solicitation for herbicides on a brand name basis.

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SBA Adopts New Exemption From Nonmanufacturer Rule

The nonmanufacturer rule will not apply to small business set-aside contracts valued between $3,000 and $150,000, according to the SBA.

In its recent major rulemaking, the SBA exempts these small business set-aside contracts from the nonmanufacturer rule, meaning that small businesses will be able to supply the products of large manufacturers for these contracts without violating the limitations on subcontracting.

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