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SmallGovCon Week In Review: October 14 – October 18, 2019

We’re getting into the Halloween spirit early in these parts, including Lawrence’s annual Zombie Walk that took place last night. Government contractors should not feel left out, as the CDC has its own Zombie Preparedness emergency preparedness campaign that you can check out. We’ve also scared up some interesting (or potentially frightening) stories from the government contracting world this week. This week, look for updates about the National Background Investigations Bureau being transfe

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

5 Things You Should Know: Pre-Award Bid Protests

Small businesses often search for ways to increase their competitiveness for federal government contracts. A sometimes overlooked method is to try to better define the procurement’s requirements in a manner that improves a firm’s chances of being awarded the contract, through a pre-award bid protest. Here are five things you should know about pre-award protests: 1. What is a pre-award protest? A pre-award protest is a protest that challenges the terms of a specific solicitation.

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

GAO Finds NASA Effectively Evaluated Risks of the Unknown

NASA is going back to the moon and is looking for private companies to help get it there. In 2018, NASA awarded nine IDIQ Commercial Lunar Payload Service contracts for commercial payload delivery services between the Earth and the lunar surface. This is a sea-change for NASA as “no [United States] commercial company has ever attempted to launch, transit, and land” on the moon. Prior to award, NASA asked for task order proposals to include a description of risks and mitigation efforts. You might

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

“Open your Email Attachments!” Says GAO

With the ongoing rise of technology in the workplace, safe email practices are increasingly important. In particular, many in the cybersecurity community are concerned about email attachments and spam. Even so, in Information Unlimited, Inc., B-415716.40 (Oct. 4, 2019), GAO warned protesters not to delay in opening email attachments provided by the government. Information Unlimited Inc. (IUI) submitted a bid on an RFP for the Air Force’s Small Business Enterprise Application Solutions (

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

OHA Lacks Jurisdiction for NAICS Appeal of GPO Procurement on VA’s Behalf

OHA recently confirmed that it lacked jurisdiction to decide a NAICS code appeal regarding a GPO procurement, even though that procurement was conducted on behalf on the VA. OHA’s dismissal was based on the fact that GPO, a legislative branch agency, is not subject to the same rules as the executive agencies. OHA’s decision in Veterans4you, Inc., SBA No. NAICS-6021, (Aug. 13, 2019), involved a U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) procurement of suicide prevention gunlocks with printe

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

FAR Update Will Limit use of LPTA in Non-DOD Procurements

A quick update on a proposed FAR rule that will put in place restrictions on use of lowest-price, technically acceptable (LPTA) solicitations in non-DOD agencies, as mandated in the 2019 NDAA. There are a few differences from the similar rule that recently went into effect for DOD. The proposed rule implements the 2019 NDAA’s policy to avoid LPTA “in circumstances that would deny the Government the benefits of cost and technical tradeoffs in the source selection process.” It applies only

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: October 7 – October 11, 2019

The end of the government’s fiscal year always brings a rash of government purchasing. We hope the government’s purchasing push has been good for all of our readers. As you recover from the busy last couple of weeks, enjoy this week’s updates in government contracting, which may help put some perspective on what just happened at the end of the last fiscal year and identify future trends for government acquisitions. This week’s updates include a recap of large defense deals, the future of th
 

COFC Strikes a Blow to VA-Verified VOSBs and SDVOSBs

A few months ago, GAO confirmed that where VA uses GPO as it buying agent, it still must to comply with the Rule of Two in 38 U.S.C. 8127(d) (see our blog post on the case ). After VA took corrective action, however, another bid protest was again filed, but this time in the Court of Federal Claims. Surprisingly, there, the Court concluded differently, finding that GPO was not required to set aside the procurement for SDVOSBs or VOSBs, despite acting on VA’s behalf. In so doing, it has weakened t
 

VA Updates Guidance on SDVOSB Joint Ventures, Fixes Error

As of September 2019, the VA has updated its Verification Assistance Brief on SDVOSB joint ventures. The old assistance brief was last revised in 2017 and contained some incorrect information. To its credit, this update removes the wrong info and it contains some additional guidance that could be helpful for SDVOSB joint venture members. The new assistance brief contains a lot of the same information as the old, but it has been updated in some key ways. First, the the incorrect gui
 

“We Couldn’t View the Solicitation,” Argues Protester

The first step in competing for a federal contract is knowing that an opportunity exists in the first place. In a recent protest, a contractor argued it was not able to find an opportunity despite routinely searching the appropriate federal procurement opportunity system, e-Buy. Thus, according to the protesting company, the procurement was not properly publicized and the award was improper. GAO did not agree. CC&C Management Services, LLC, B-417594 (Comp. Gen. Aug. 28, 2019), involv
 

The Simplified Acquisition Threshold and Micro-Purchase Threshold are Going Up

The DoD, GSA, and NASA are proposing increases to the Simplified Acquisition Threshold and Micro-Purchase Threshold. Although this may seem like a minor update, it will cause changes across the federal contracting landscape, will alter the FAR, and will result in more contracts being issued under the Micro-Purchase and Simplified Acquisition Thresholds. On October 2, the DoD, GSA, and NASA issued a proposed rule that would amend the FAR to increase the Micro-Purchase Threshold and Simpli
 

SBA Updates All Small Mentor-Protege Template with Affiliation Questions

With little fanfare, the SBA has updated the template for agreements under the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program (ASMPP). The new template adds a series of check box-style questions, mainly about potential affiliation between the mentor and protege. Be sure to check out the new template if you are working on a mentor-protégé agreement. The SBA described the changes to the form this way in a federal register notice: The questions basically mirror the affiliation assumptions found i
 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: September 30 – October 4, 2019

Hi there loyal readers! We’ve been getting some great cool fall weather here in Lawrence. Seems like summer is officially over. Hope you’re enjoying fall as well. We also hope you enjoy’s this week’s round-up of government contracting news, including stories about GSA’s new commercial e-Marketplace, issues impacting women veteran-owned businesses, and an update to LPTA procurements for non-DOD agencies (we recently blogged about the related LPTA update for DOD agencies). TRANSCOM s
 

Contractor Did Not Release Claims for Flood-Caused Delay

Because I’m at least partially a North Carolina country boy, I like to promise I’ll finish a project by a certain date “god willing and the creek don’t rise.” I never give much thought to what I’ll do if the unexpected happens. I assume most people don’t. They expect things to go according to plan. As Meridian Engineering Company found out at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims recently, sorting it out when things don’t go to plan can be a long and arduous process. In what would appear
 

5 (More) Things You Should Know: Bid Protests

It’s early October, which means that the federal government’s end-of-fiscal-year contracting binge has drawn to an end. With the spate of contract awards, this time of year typically sees an increase in the number of bid protests being filed, or at least contemplated. If you’re considering filing a bid protest, here are five (more) things to keep in mind: 1. Debriefings are helpful guides. The most useful piece of information when considering a bid protest is, unsurprisingly, th
 

GAO Report Considers Options to Increase “Mid-Sized” Business Opportunities

Earlier this month, GAO produced an over 50-page report, presenting a discussion on options for increasing business opportunities for “mid-sized” businesses. It can be tough to go from being a small business to competing with all large businesses, so GAO took a look at these small-ish large businesses. We know SmallGovCon readers are busy, so we’ll provide the CliffNotes version. The Backdrop Currently, there no statutes or regulations covering mid-sized businesses, so GAO created
 

GSA Demystifies DUNS Replacement ID

“Change can be confusing. Change can be frustrating.” No, this is not from the cover of a self-help book. This is GSA’s acknowledgment that, often, we fear change. To combat fears about changes to the DUNS number, GSA recently released a Q&A providing some answers on the new Unique Entity ID (UEI) Standard, which is set to replace the current DUNS system in December 2020. The Q&A followed GSA’s online meeting on the topic in July, which hosted over 700 attendees. GSA answered general

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: September 23 – September 27, 2019

Happy Fall Ya’ll! We’ve finally been getting a welcome taste of fall weather, after what seemed like a very long summer season. Hope you are enjoying the season change as much as we are. And next week, my colleague Matthew Schoonover will be at two PTAC events in Kansas. Be sure to check those out if you are in the area. But for now, it’s time for another dose of government contracting news. This week, stories about increased use of AI in government contracting, the role of small business in

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

DoD Finalizes Restrictions on Use of LPTA Source Selection Process

Effective October 1, DoD has issued a final rule restricting the use of LPTA solicitations in certain circumstances. This rule implements statutory changes from the 2017 and 2018 NDAA that will greatly impact the use of LPTA procurements by DoD contracting officers. If you are a loyal reader of SmallGovCon you are aware that we have been tracking these statutory changes since they were first mentioned by the 2017 NDAA. For those who may not have been following our previous coverag

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

Contractors Must Prove Increased Costs Caused by a New Wage Determination

Under some federal government contracts, the contractor is required to pay its workers a wage dictated by a wage determination issued by DOL. But what if, during contract performance, DOL raises the applicable wages? Under the FAR, contractors can recover their increased costs. Naturally, however, contractors have to prove them. Before discussing a recent CBCA decision, let’s look at the relevant FAR provision: FAR 52.222-43. Under that provision, the Government will adjust the contract

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

GAO Upholds Agency’s Cancellation of LPTA Procurement with only One Acceptable Offer

Pop quiz: Your company is the only technically acceptable offeror in an lowest-priced, technically acceptable procurement. You win, right? Not when the agency cancels the solicitation, hoping that a cheaper offeror who was not technically acceptable will submit a bid if given another chance. GAO recently considered this very scenario. In AvKARE, Inc., B-417250 (2019), GAO considered a solicitation to supply a certain prescription drug to VA and other agencies. The objective of the contr

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SBA Takes Action Following OIG Investigation of Suspension and Debarment Process

On September 18, 2019, SBA’s Office of Inspector General released an Audit Report summarizing a recent audit of SBA’s Suspension and Debarment Process. The purpose of the audit was to determine whether SBA “had sufficient controls in place to prevent suspended or debarred entities from receiving federal contracts through SBA’s preference contracting programs and small business loans.” Through its investigation, OIG discovered SBA lent and awarded millions of dollars to businesses otherwise ineli

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

GAO Green Lights Use of IGCE in Past Performance Evaluation

Internal Government Cost Estimates (IGCEs) are frequently used to gauge the reasonableness of contractor prices during proposal evaluation. But can these internal estimates also impact other evaluation factors? GAO was recently asked to resolve this question in the context of past performance evaluations, and the answer was essentially “you sure can!” Alright, GAO wasn’t that enthusiastic, but it did condone the use of IGCEs when evaluating past performance. Chenega Federal Systems,

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SBA OIG All Small Mentor-Protégé Program Evaluation Reveals Concerns and Suggests Improvements

In 2016, SBA established the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program, or ASMPP, enabling mentors of any size to provide business development assistance to small protégé businesses to enhance the protégé’s ability to compete for federal contracts. Since then, the ASMPP has served as a powerful tool for many businesses and, as of August 1, there were 885 active mentor-protégé agreements. Recently, however, the SBA’s Office of the Inspector General released a report highlighting some opportunities to

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

 

SmallGovCon Week In Review: September 16 – September 20, 2019

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another weekend of college football. Here in Lawrence, there is some renewed interest in the Jayhawks after last week’s surprise Friday night upset over Boston College. Let’s hope the Hawks can keep the intensity up tomorrow. It also means it’s time for another roundup of some of the more interesting updates from the federal government contracting world. This week, we look at stories including that Federal, state, and local authorities are intensifying

Koprince Law LLC

Koprince Law LLC

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