The Department of Commerce and the Office of the United States Trade Representative are conducting industry outreach to better understand how the government’s procurement obligations under free trade agreements and the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement affect manufacturer and supplier access to the domestic government procurement process.
The Department of Defense is seeking input on Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement solicitation provisions and contract clauses that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification.
In accordance with Executive Order 13777, Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda, the General Services Administration is seeking input on repealing, replacing, and modifying its acquisition regulations, policies, standards, business practices, and guidance.
A report issued by the Government Accountability Office recommends improvements to the Pilot Program for Enhancement of Contractor Employee Whistleblower Protections.
The Government Accountability Office has released is High-Risk List for 2017. The HRL, issued every two years, examines federal programs and operations that are especially vulnerable to waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement, or that need transformative change. The report, GAO-17-317, HIGH-RISK SERIES: Progress on Many High-Risk Areas, While Substantial Efforts Needed on Others, addresses 32 high-risk areas from the 2015 HRL. The 2017 HRL includes six procurement-related areas that appeared on the 2015 HRL:
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (PL 114-328) establishes a new Cost Accounting Standards Board specific to the Department of Defense. Section 820 of the NDAA adds 10 USC 190 to create a seven-member panel chaired by DoD’s chief financial officer. The duties of the Defense Cost Accounting Standards Board include reviewing DoD’s application of existing cost accounting standards and recommending changes to the CAS Board. The Defense CAS Board has exclusive authority, with respect to DoD, to implement cost accounting standards to achieve uniformity and consistency in the standards governing measurement, assignment, and allocation of costs to contracts with DoD. The Board is also charged to develop standards to ensure that commercial operations performed by DoD employees adhere to cost accounting standards that inform managerial decision making.
One day before an October 25, 2016, effective date, the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas enjoined on a nationwide basis the implementation of portions of the final rule issued in FAC 2005-90 and related Department of Labor guidance because they conflicted with the National Labor Relations Act and other labor laws (Associated Builders and Contractors, et al. v. Rung, et al.). The rule, Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces (FAR Case 2014-025), implements Executive Order 13673, as amended. The injunction applies to the rule’s labor law violation reporting requirements and limitation on use of pre-dispute arbitration clauses in employment agreements, but not its paycheck transparency requirement.
The Department of Labor has announced the 2017 minimum wage rate for contracts covered by Executive Order 13658, Establishing a Minimum Wage for Contractors.
The Department of Defense has finalized its proposed rule addressing the allowability of costs of counterfeit electronic parts or suspect counterfeit electronic parts and the cost of rework or corrective action.
The final rule in DFARS Case 2016-D004 amends the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement at DFARS 231.205-71 to provide that these costs may be allowable if the parts were obtained by the contractor/subcontractor in accordance the clause at DFARS 252.246-7008, Sources of Electronic Parts.
The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council has issued Federal Acquisition Circular 2005-90, which contains one final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation. The rule, Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces (FAR Case 2014-025), implements Executive Order 13673 (as amended by E.O. 13683 and E.O. 13738). E.O. 13673 was designed to improve contractor compliance with labor laws and increase efficiency and cost savings in federal contracting. As stated in the E.O., ensuring compliance with labor laws drives economy and efficiency by promoting “safe, healthy, fair, and effective workplaces. Contractors that consistently adhere to labor laws are more likely to have workplace practices that enhance productivity and increase the likelihood of timely, predictable, and satisfactory delivery of goods and services to the [f]ederal [g]overnment.”