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Jasmine Wang

Jasmine Wang is an associate in the firm’s Washington, DC office. She is a member of the Government Contracts and Employment Practice Groups and maintains an active pro bono practice.

On January 30, 2024, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (“FAR Council”) proposed a new “Pay Equity and Transparency in Federal Contracting” rule for government contractors.  The proposed rule intends to increase race and gender equity for employees of federal prime contractors and subcontractors by prohibiting them from requesting and relying on certain information about job applicants’ compensation history and requiring contractors to disclose compensation rates in job announcements for certain positions.  These requirements would apply to all prime contracts and subcontracts – including for commercial products and services – where the principal place of performance is within the United States, regardless of dollar amount or tier.  The proposed rule is the latest in a number of steps the Biden Administration has taken to address discriminatory pay practices in federal procurement and contracting since announcing an Executive Order on Advancing Economy, Efficiency, and Effectiveness in Federal Contracting by Promoting Pay Equity and Transparency in March 2022. 

The proposed rule’s potential impact and implications for contractors — as well as opportunities to submit comments on the issue — are discussed below.Continue Reading New Proposed Rule on Pay Equity and Transparency in Federal Contracting

On December 22, 2023, President Biden signed into law the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (“FY 2024 NDAA”).  Sections 1841 through 1843 of the new law address Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (“UAP”).

The version of the FY 2024 NDAA enacted in the Senate in July of this year incorporated the Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena Disclosure Act of 2023—which would have mandated the Federal Government’s exercise of eminent domain over UAP-related material controlled by private persons or entities.  As discussed in greater detail below, the eminent domain mandate was not included in the final version of the NDAA passed by both chambers of Congress.  The newly enacted law requires only the establishment of a government wide UAP records collection; that government offices transfer UAP records to the collection; and that records be reviewed for disclosure (or not) against a set of criteria under which public release could be “postponed.”  Nonetheless, the substance of these final UAP provisions and Congress’s renewed interest in UAP may be a harbinger of things to come for government contractors and research entities, especially those involved in defense, intelligence, and other national security projects.  We expand on the background, evolution, and national security implications of the UAP amendment—and its potential impacts on contractors and other private entities—below.Continue Reading Implications of the Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP) Amendment in the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

The requirement to pay “prevailing wages” to covered workers is a perennial aspect of many types of government contracting, including construction contracts subject to the Davis-Bacon Act (“DBA”) and certain related laws (collectively referred to as the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts or “DBRA”).  In recent years, Congress has also expanded the reach of prevailing wage requirements to new industries: clean energy projects seeking to take advantage of federal tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act are required to ensure that prevailing wages are paid or may be forced to forfeit valuable credits.  Semiconductor manufacturers — as well as manufacturers of materials and equipment used to make semiconductors — that seek to take advantage of the incentives established by the CHIPS Act are likewise required to follow the prevailing wage requirements of the DBA. 

It was in this context that the Department of Labor (“DOL”) introduced a 222-page final rule, “Updating the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts Regulations,” that substantially rewrote the implementing regulations under the DBRA.  Among other things, the final rule alters how DOL calculates the prevailing wage rates for each locality, and expands the definition of the “site of work” and categories of workers subject to the DBA.  Moreover, the final rule imposes the DBA by operation of law on federal construction contracts that would otherwise be covered, but that nevertheless do not include the requisite FAR clauses and wage determinations used to inform contractors of the DBA’s requirements.  The potential impact of these changes has not gone unnoticed:  last month, two trade associations — the Associated Builders and Contractors of Southeast Texas, Inc. (“ABCSETX”) and the Associated General Contractors of America (“AGC”) — filed separate suits challenging multiple aspects of the final rule, including the changes to prevailing wage calculation methodology and the revised definition of the site of work.  We expand on the final rule’s changes — and on the pending legal challenges — below. Continue Reading Whose Site Is It Anyway: Trade Groups Challenge DOL’s Prevailing Wage Calculation and Expanded Definition of the Site of Work Under the Davis-Bacon Act