Many government contractors are familiar with FOIA requests, or requests made by individuals under the Freedom of Information Act for release of information in the federal government’s possession. In the recent case Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, the U.S. Supreme Court held that commercial or financial information is “confidential” and cannot be disclosed under FOIA where it is treated as private by its owner and provided to the government under an assurance of privacy.
Earning federal contracts is a powerful tool to help small companies grow their business. To help make sure that small businesses have a seat at the table, the Small Business Act sets prime contracting goals for small businesses (along with each socio-economic category). 15 U.S.C. § 644(g). And each year, the SBA issues a scorecard grading the government’s compliance with those goals.
On June 11, the House Armed Services Committee published its draft of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was updated June 19. Among other proposed sections impacting small business contractors which will be discussed in future blog posts, the draft reduces the monetary threshold for comprehensive Department of Defense debriefings and renews the DoD’s Mentor-Protégé Program.
On Monday, June 24, SBA will issue its long-awaited proposed rule implementing the Small Business Runway Extension Act. We intend to explore the proposed rule and the accompanying commentary more fully over the next few days (as we have been doing over the past few months), but we wanted to provide a quick update to our readers on the main changes in the proposed rule.
The General Services Administration is conducting market research for its planned consolidation of the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Program. Earlier this month, GSA publicly announced the new single solicitation format, including streamlined terms and conditions, and its intention to collect feedback from government contractors in the industry. According to GSA, the consolidation is part of its two-year modernization process for the program that began in November of 2018. The consolidated MAS solicitation is scheduled for release later this year. And if you have concerns or suggestions for GSA on this significant consolidation, there is still time for your input.
It’s no secret that the VA has tried to find ways around the statutorily-mandated rule of two–i.e. VA must set aside procurements for VOSBS if it has a reasonable expectation that it will receive fair and reasonable offers from two or more veteran-owned small businesses. Although the U.S. Supreme Court has already told VA, in Kingdomware, that it cannot circumvent the rule of two, VA apparently is still seeking ways to avoid it.
Recently, a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship called for increased small business participation in federal contracts during a hearing on the SBA’s contracting programs. Senator Ben Cardin based his concern on a recent report showing that the number of small businesses with federal contracts was at a 10-year low.
So, your company has made it past the first big hurdle and got on a GSA schedule. You see a small business task order pop up that you believe your company would be perfect for, but another company gets the award. Based on information you have heard or read, you believe something fishy may be going on and the awarded company may be a big fish that found its way into the small pond. But can you timely protest the task order award?
Congratulations! After a hard bidding process, your company has earned an award. But though this award process might’ve been long and tough, potential issues are still ahead.
Statute A tells you to solve Problem X one way. Statute B tells you solve Problem X a completely different way. How to reconcile these two conflicting mandates? The Federal Circuit encountered this exact problem in 2018, and in response to its holding, the VA has now issued a class deviation to reflect its decision, confirming that the Rule of Two has priority over the AbilityOne Procurement List.