It’s that time of year again: the House and Senate have each passed their respective version of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2024 (“NDAA”) (H.R. 2670, S. 2226). The NDAA is a “must pass” set of policy programs and discretionary authorizations to fund Department of Defense (“DoD”) operations. Lawmakers are currently undertaking the arduous process of reconciling these bills, while jockeying to include topics of importance in the final legislation. The engrossed bills contain a number of significant provisions for defense contractors, technology providers, life science companies and commercial-item contractors – many of which we discuss briefly below and others that we will analyze in more depth in our NDAA series in the coming weeks. Subscribe to our blog here so that you do not miss these updates.
On November 6, 2015, the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) issued a proposed rule (the “Proposed Rule”) to clarify the byzantine verification process for veteran-owned small businesses (“VOSB”) and veteran-owned service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (“SDVOSB”)1 who want to participate in the VA’s Veterans First Contracting Program. VA Veteran-Owned Small Business Verification Guidelines, Proposed Rule, 80 Fed. Reg. 68,795 (to be codified at 38 C.F.R. Part 74). The Proposed Rule revises a 2013 advanced notice of proposed rulemaking and considers 39 public comments received in response to the prior notice. Comments on the latest proposed rule are due on or before January 5, 2016.
Under the Veterans First Contracting Program, the VA offers set-asides and sole source opportunities to certified VOSB and SDVOSB firms. Unfortunately, the program has struggled to gain a foothold in the government procurement landscape because its VA-administered regulations are confusing and the set-aside opportunities are limited to VA procurements. At the same time, the Government Accountability Office and the VA’s Office of the Inspector General have targeted the program for pervasive fraud, and stakeholders have criticized the verification program as unnecessarily rigorous when compared against other socio-economic programs administered by the Small Business Administration (“SBA”).
As a result, through its Proposed Rule, the VA “seeks to find an appropriate balance between preventing fraud . . . and providing a process that would make it easier for more VOSBs to become verified.” The VA attempts to strike this balance by significantly amending the VOSB ownership regulations to make them easier to understand, and bringing many of the requirements in line with SBA interpretations of similar requirements under similar programs.…
The Small Business Administration’s (“SBA”) Office of Hearings and Appeals (“OHA”) recently issued a decision exemplifying the well-known reality that protest deadlines are short and unforgiving. In Size Appeal of Supplies Now, Inc., SBA No. SIZ-5655 (Apr. 30, 2015), OHA denied, as untimely, an appeal of an SBA Area Office decision. The appellant, Supplies Now, contended it submitted an appeal via email on the 15th day after it received the adverse Area Office decision—the last day to file before the appeal deadline expired. OHA, however, never received the email submission and did not first learn of the protest until Supplies Now called six weeks later inquiring about the status of its appeal.
Continue Reading Lost in Transmission: Email Failure Results in Untimely Size Protest