Government Contracting: Key Developments in February 2024

Feb 28, 2024

White House Launches Comprehensive Federal Spending Database for Enhanced Transparency

The White House has taken a monumental step towards government transparency by launching a new, comprehensive federal spending inventory, offering unprecedented access to information on government spending programs.

  • The Federal Program Inventory, aggregates data from SAM.gov and USASpending.gov, detailing expenditures on grants, loans, and direct payments alongside program objectives and eligibility.
  • With federal financial assistance exceeding $3 trillion annually, the inventory aims to cover a substantial portion of federal programs, enhancing fiscal transparency.
  • This initiative meets a congressional mandate under the 2010 Government Performance and Results Act Modernization Act, emphasizing government accountability.
  • The inventory includes the most recent fiscal data, with projections for future years, and is designed to be regularly updated for accuracy and relevance.
  • The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has advocated for this database, highlighting its potential to inform federal decision-makers and the public about government spending and performance.
  • Reflecting on the pilot project of 2020, the new inventory expands in scope, promising ongoing improvements in data categorization and standardization for better program identification and analysis.

By launching this searchable inventory, the White House not only fulfills a legislative requirement but also sets a new standard for fiscal transparency and public oversight. This tool is poised to revolutionize how taxpayers view and understand the allocation and impact of federal spending, reinforcing the administration’s commitment to accountability and open governance.

OMB Memo Expands “Rule of Two” to Task and Delivery Orders While SBA Prepares to Shape Future Procurement

The White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued a pivotal memo that could transform federal contracting for small businesses, emphasizing the enforcement of the Rule of Two for task and delivery orders under multiple-award contracts.

  • The memo mandates executive agencies to apply the FAR’s Rule of Two to task and delivery orders, potentially opening millions in contract opportunities for small businesses.
  • The Rule of Two enhances small business participation by requiring contracts to be set aside for them when two or more are capable of competitive pricing and quality.
  • Agencies must now justify not setting aside contracts for small businesses, promoting transparency and accountability to foster increased small business participation.
  • The memo hints at forthcoming SBA and FAR Council regulatory changes, signaling a shift towards supporting small businesses in federal procurement and boosting their involvement.
  • Implementing the Rule of Two at the order level might challenge the Fair Opportunity Clause, which aims to give all awardees a chance to compete for contracts.

This OMB memo marks a promising step towards increased small business inclusion in federal contracting, signaling a broader movement to support small enterprises and ensure equitable access to government contracts. With regulatory amendments on the horizon, the landscape of federal procurement is poised for a transformative shift, reinforcing the government’s commitment to small business growth and diversity.

Contract Appeals Board Sides with Contractors on Pandemic Impact Claims

In a landmark decision on December 20, 2023, the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals has set a precedent by denying the government’s motion to dismiss pandemic-related contract claims, opening a path for contractors seeking redress for COVID-19 impacts.

  • The Board rejected the government’s arguments against the claims, paving the way for contractors to pursue relief for pandemic-induced challenges.
  • The contractor alleged numerous COVID-19-related impacts including supply chain disruptions and labor shortages, leading to a request for equitable adjustment that was initially denied.
  • Highlighting the government’s lack of cooperation during the pandemic, the Board found grounds to continue with the contractor’s claims, particularly focusing on the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing.
  • Contrary to the government’s defense, the Board decided that the sovereign acts doctrine, which typically protects the government from liability for its public acts, requires further scrutiny in this case.
  • This decision signals a potential shift in how pandemic-related claims are viewed, suggesting that such claims could be successful if well-argued and documented.

This decision marks a significant moment for government contractors affected by the pandemic, offering a glimmer of hope for those looking to recover from unforeseen COVID-19 impacts. It underscores the importance of cooperation between contractors and the government and challenges the traditional application of the sovereign acts doctrine, encouraging a more nuanced approach to pandemic-related disruptions in contract performance.

CISA Spearheads Development of National Cybersecurity Threat Intelligence Platform: A Call to Action for Industry Experts

In a significant move to bolster national cybersecurity, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is calling for proposals to create a pioneering cybersecurity threat intelligence platform, dubbed the Threat Intelligence Enterprise Service (TIES).

  • CISA aims to partner through an “other transaction agreement” for the development of a Cybersecurity Threat Intelligence (CTI) exchange platform.
  • The initiative seeks to establish a minimum viable product for TIES, focusing initially on federal civilian executive branch agencies.
  • The proposed CTI exchange platform is envisioned as a centralized hub to facilitate the efficient sharing of cyber threat intelligence from a variety of government and commercial sources.
  • Essential features of the platform include the capability to process and understand indicators of compromise from diverse intelligence feeds.
  • Interested industry sources have a deadline of March 4 to submit their proposals, as per the announcement on SAM.gov.

This call for proposals marks a crucial step forward in the U.S. government’s efforts to enhance cybersecurity defenses by improving the sharing and utilization of threat intelligence. It’s a golden opportunity for industry innovators to contribute to a safer cyber environment, setting a precedent for public-private collaboration in national security.

iQuasar is a 20-year-old Northern Virginia company delivering services primarily in the Recruitment, Staffing, and Proposal Development domains. We specialize in supporting Small Businesses in bidding for complex contract vehicles like OASIS+, PACTS III, SEWP VI Polaris GWAC, CIO-SP4, Alliant 3, 8(a) STARS III, and other GWACs. We also offer Cleared Recruitment Services that can be an added strength for you in meeting PACTS III requirements.

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