On December 23, 2022, President Biden signed the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 into law. The Act contains two significant prohibitions regarding the procurement and use of semiconductor products and services from specific Chinese companies and other foreign countries of concern that will come into effect in December 2027. Continue Reading NDAA Prohibits Government Purchase and Use of Certain Semiconductors
Addressing climate change has been a priority for President Biden since his first day in office. On December 8, 2021, President Biden continued that focus by issuing Executive Order (EO) 14057, Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability, which includes a number of requirements directed at introducing sustainability to federal acquisitions.
This most recent EO announces an administration policy to achieve net-zero emissions from federal procurement by 2050 and comes on the heels of the public comment period extension to January 13, 2022 in response to EO 14030, Climate-Related Financial Risk. Although the administration will likely be rolling out additional sustainability requirements in the coming months, contractors currently have an opportunity to help shape an initial requirement that may end up effectively establishing an environmental, social, and governance or “ESG” reporting requirement.
Continue Reading Contractors Have an Opportunity to Help Shape ESG Requirements
The government is moving forward with further changes to Buy American Act (“BAA”) regulations. But based on yesterday’s public meeting to discuss the July 30 notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”) to revise existing BAA regulations, it remains to be seen exactly where those changes are headed.
As discussed in our prior client alert, the NPRM implements Executive Order 14005 (“Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers”) by proposing three major changes to existing BAA regulations: (1) higher domestic content thresholds; (2) enhanced price preferences for “critical” items and components; and (3) new domestic content reporting requirements for “critical” items and components. The agenda for the public meeting covered each of these changes, as well as other questions raised in the NPRM related to BAA waivers and exceptions.Continue Reading Buy American Act Update: FAR Council Holds Public Meeting on New Proposed Rule
The American Rescue Plan, signed into law last month, includes $1.9 trillion in economic stimulus, healthcare, and related funding. And just last week the Biden administration released an infrastructure proposal, the American Jobs Plan, that includes $2.3 trillion in transportation, connectivity, power, and other critical infrastructure investments.
Contractors are right to view these plans as massive opportunities — but should be cognizant of the regulatory strings that often attach to government spending. In general, these can include Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and agency-specific FAR supplements for federal procurements, as well as the nonprocurement uniform requirements (2 C.F.R. Part 200) and related agency-specific regulations that attach to Federal grant funds even when disbursed by state or local entities.
Now, some Congressional members are seeking to add new restrictions that would significantly overhaul the existing domestic preference regime for Federal procurements — mere weeks after the promulgation of new Buy American regulations and the release of a new Executive Order to further tighten the application of these rules.Continue Reading U.S. Senators Propose Trade-Pact Waivers Amidst Focus on Domestic Preference Laws
Federal civilian agencies will now face new restrictions on when and how they can use Lowest Price Technically Acceptable source selection procedures. A new rule in the Federal Acquisition Regulation is the latest in a series of measures aimed at regulating the use of LPTA source selection procedures. The new rule implements an October 2019 proposed rule and takes effect on February 16, 2021.
Continue Reading New FAR Rule Continues Shake-Up of LPTA Procurements
The government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic implicates a host of authorities of interest to contractors, from those under the Stafford Act to its recently invoked Defense Production Act powers. The government has another critical, and perhaps under-examined, set of tools at its disposal to meet the demands of the pandemic: FAR Part 18, “Emergency Acquisitions,” catalogues authorities that give the government greater ability to acquire goods in a streamlined, accelerated manner. Contractors should take note of FAR Part 18 given the government’s urgent needs for COVID-19 related supplies and services.
Continue Reading Emergency Contracting During COVID-19: A Guide to FAR Part 18
Tight deadlines are a fact of life in the world of government contracting. Indeed, it is not unusual for the government to expect a contractor to provide large amounts of information in just a few short days. And the draconian penalty for missing such a deadline is usually the rejection of a proposal.
But can an agency’s deadline be unreasonably short? Yes. In MCR Federal, LLC, GAO determined that the agency’s deadline for submitting its final proposal revision (“FPR”) was so short that it deprived the protester of a fair opportunity to improve its proposal.Continue Reading Not So Fast Guy: Recent GAO Decision Provides Rule For When Agency Deadlines Are Unreasonably Short
A long-standing dispute over the approach to country of origin determinations under the Trade Agreements Act (“TAA”) may soon be resolved, as the Federal Circuit recently heard oral argument in one of two cases presently examining key aspects of this statute. Among other questions presented, the court may decide the standard for determining whether a product may be considered a U.S.-made end product — a question that could have far reaching implications for product manufacturers across all industries.
Continue Reading How Much Is Enough? Federal Circuit Appeal May Decide Level of U.S. Manufacturing Required Under the TAA
On October 2, 2019, the Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and NASA issued a proposed rule that would amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation to establish new restrictions on when and under what circumstances civilian agencies may employ Lowest Price Technically Acceptable source selection procedures. The proposed rule would implement Section 880 of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019, and follows hot on the heels of DoD’s final rule making similar — but not identical — amendments to the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement. (See our recent blog post on the new DFARS rule.)
Continue Reading Lowest Priced Technically Acceptable Procurements Are Less and Less Acceptable: Proposed FAR Rule Further Continues Shake-Up of LPTA Procurements
A recently proposed rule would update the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) to incorporate statutory changes to limitations on subcontracting that have been in effect since 2013. The U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) has long since revised its own regulations to implement these changes, but some contracting officers have been reluctant to follow these changes in the SBA regulations because the FAR contains contradictory provisions.
The proposed rule is a sign of progress. In particular, it should add significant clarity to the current disconnect between the FAR and SBA regulations. However, the proposed rule is not perfect, and a number of recent developments highlight that outstanding questions remain.Continue Reading Signs of Progress with the Limitations on Subcontracting, but Outstanding Questions Remain