By Debbie Kobrin, WIPP Government Relations
With the party conventions right around the corner, and a few months to a new President, you might think the current administration would be slowing down. But things are moving in the opposite direction. The Administration is churning out plenty of new contracting rules, and shows no signs of stopping anytime.
In June, SBA finalized a new subcontracting rule which will help WOSBs with subcontracting requirements, by easing the “50 percent rule” to allow a WOSB to do less than 50 percent of the work on a contract, as long as the WOSB subcontracts to other WOSBs. The rule also shifts the limitations on subcontracting from requiring a prime to perform at least 50 percent of the labor on the contract, to requiring a prime perform at least 50 percent of the dollar amount of the contract. The rule also contains changes to subcontracting plans, roles for Procurement Center Representatives (PCR), Joint Ventures and more.
Also last month, the GSA finalized a new regulation requiring contractors to report transaction or task order level data on goods and services to GSA. Under the transactional data rule, businesses are required to tell GSA what federal agencies purchase through GSA. This rule applies to GSA contracts including the Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) and Government-wide Acquisition Contracts (GWAC).
Last week, the FAR Council finalized a rule strengthening subcontracting regulations by finalizing the “ list us, use us” requiring for prime contractors to make a good faith effort to utilize small subcontractors to the same degree as listed in the bid or proposal. WIPP has supported this change for a number of years, and testified on its value to women business owners. The rule also requires prime contractors to assign NAICS codes to subcontracts, and restricts prime contractors from prohibiting a subcontractor from discussing payment issues with the contracting officer.
In addition to what we have seen over the past several months, SBA is expected to release a new Mentor-Protégé Program for all-small-businesses any day now. The SBA is also expected to work on rules associated with lower-tier subcontracting credit, WOSB certification, and the WBC program.
The FAR Council continues to work through its back-log and plans to release new rules that include creating a government-wide definition for consolidation and bundling, providing subcontractors with additional payment protections, and implementing the Department of Labor Fair Pay, Safe Workplaces Executive Order.
As we enter the home stretch of the Obama Administration, there is a clear impetus to do as much as possible over the next several months. As new information about rules becomes available, WIPP is committed to keeping you informed.
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