Government Contracting: Key Developments in January 2024

Jan 31, 2024

Biden Administration Empowers Small Businesses in Government Contracts

The Biden administration is actively promoting small business participation in major government contracts. Recently released guidance from the Office of Management and Budget urges federal agencies to adopt strategies for small business inclusion in multi-award contracts, which constitute nearly $160 billion. The Small Business Administration is concurrently enhancing its Empower to Grow program, offering customized training and networking events for small disadvantaged businesses. These measures align with the administration’s 2023 initiatives, emphasizing a commitment to diversifying opportunities and fostering growth for small businesses in the federal contracting landscape.

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NASA’s Procurement Code Sparks Queries Over Small Business Opportunities

Reps. Roger Williams (R-Texas) and Nick LaLota (R-N.Y.) are raising concerns over NASA’s decision to utilize revenue-based codes under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) for procurement contracts. In a letter to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, the lawmakers expressed worry that the chosen NAICS codes, 541512 and 541519, in SEWP VI could limit small businesses’ participation in computer products and services acquisitions. The previous iteration of SEWP saw 80% of contract dollars awarded to small businesses, prompting the lawmakers to request a briefing by January 18 to justify the use of revenue-based NAICS codes. NASA aims to award over 60% of SEWP VI dollars to small businesses, according to a spokesperson.

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GSA Proposes Shift to Best Value Approach in MAS Acquisitions

The General Services Administration (GSA) is aiming for a significant shift in its approach to acquisitions under the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program. Through a legislative proposal, the GSA intends to amend the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984, reducing reliance on the lowest price, technically acceptable method. The proposed changes seek to replace references to the “lowest overall cost alternative” with “best value,” aligning with the Federal Acquisition Regulation’s definition. GSA’s Senior Procurement Executive, Jeff Koses, highlighted the move towards a best-value mindset over the past 40 years, emphasizing the importance of overall benefit in meeting government requirements.

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Bipartisan Bill Aims to Streamline Federal Contracting for Enhanced Agility

Senators Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) have introduced a bipartisan bill, the Conforming Procedures for Federal Task and Delivery Order Contracts Act, aiming to simplify the federal contracting process. The legislation seeks to streamline procedures for solicitation and awarding of task and delivery order contracts, reducing cumbersome requirements and fostering a more nimble bidding and proposal evaluation process. By minimizing duplication of documentation and applying successful Department of Defense measures, the bill aims to facilitate faster awards to a broader range of contractors, including small businesses. This initiative builds on the senators’ prior efforts to enhance government procurement, emphasizing efficiency and competitiveness for businesses across the nation.

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