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President Biden will soon sign into law the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which provides $750 billion in funding and major federal policy changes impacting the U.S. energy, environment, healthcare and tax sectors. On August 7, 2022, the IRA passed the U.S. Senate by an all-Democrat 50-50 party line vote, with Vice President Harris breaking the tie and ensuring passage. On August 12, 2022, the IRA passed the U.S. House by a vote of 220 to 207. The President’s signature, will make the bill law, and allow President Biden, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to claim a major victory while making progress on a portion of the President’s Build Back Better agenda just three months before the mid-term elections on November 8, 2022.

The Crowell and Moring LLP and Crowell & Moring International (CMI) teams have put together this Client Alert with two main purposes. The first is to provide a summary of the highlights of the bill, which is included in Section I, and the second is to provide a more detailed section-by-section review of the bill, which is provided in Section II.

Continue Reading President Biden To Sign New Inflation Reduction Act
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This week’s episode covers the Cyber AB’s recently released pre-decisional draft CMMC Assessment Process, an SBA final rule that implements new methods for evaluating expanded sources of small business past performance, a GSA OIG Alert about the Transactional Data Reporting rule, and Senate passage of an amended version of the Preventing Organizational Conflicts of Interest in Federal Acquisition Act, and is hosted by Peter Eyre and Yuan Zhou. Crowell & Moring’s “Fastest 5 Minutes” is a biweekly podcast that provides a brief summary of significant government contracts legal and regulatory developments that no government contracts lawyer or executive should be without.

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Last week, the United States Congress passed the $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 (CHIPS Act)[1] to bolster domestic semiconductor and microchip manufacturing in the United States. The bipartisan legislation will facilitate federal investments in the form of grants, loans, and loan guarantees to eligible entities and create significant business opportunities for companies in the U.S. The legislation also provides funding and new programs to boost advanced workforce training and research and development in a range of scientific and technology areas. The legislation now awaits the signature of President Biden, who hailed its passage as “exactly what we need to be doing to grow our economy right now.”

The legislation seeks to reverse the decades-long decline in U.S. microchip and semiconductor manufacturing and counter the rise of China as a source for technologically advanced manufacturing processes and products. By boosting domestic manufacturing and supply chains, the legislation also aims to relieve the global semiconductor shortage that has plagued manufacturers of a diverse set of products – everything from automobiles to children’s toys – and has contributed to the nation’s supply chain woes for more than two years.

The cornerstone of the legislation is $52 billion that will be allocated to the U.S. Department of Commerce semiconductor initiative to develop and expand domestic manufacturing capacity. Implementation of that program was already underway at the Department of Commerce[2], following Congressional authorization in the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (FY21 NDAA), and the legislation passed last week now provides the critical funding needed to commence direct federal incentives for the construction, expansion, or modernization of semiconductor manufacturing facilities.

Continue Reading The CHIPS Are Down and Incentives Flow as Congress Attempts to Vitalize the U.S. Semiconductor Industry
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Background and expected impact. The House and Senate have passed the CHIPS Bill of 2022 (HR 4346), and President Biden has said that he will sign it. In furtherance of the broad goal of reducing U.S. reliance on foreign suppliers of semiconductor chips, the Bill will add the Advanced Manufacturing Investment Credit (the “AMI Credit”) to the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”). 

The CHIPS Bill could produce more than $20 billion in AMI Credit for the semiconductor industry. However, its expected value could be significantly reduced if the minimum corporate tax on book earnings, revived as part of the Manchin-Schumer deal and endorsed by the President, is enacted. 

Continue Reading The CHIPS Bill Introduces New Tax Credit to Incentivize U.S. Semiconductor Industry
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After much anticipation, the Cyber AB, formerly known as the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) Accreditation Body, recently released its pre-decisional draft CMMC Assessment Process (CAP).  The CAP describes the overarching procedures and guidance that CMMC Third-Party Assessment Organizations (C3PAOs) will use to assess entities seeking CMMC certification.  The current version of the CAP applies to contractors requiring CMMC Level 2 certification, which will likely be most contractors handling Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) based on the Department of Defense’s (DoD) provisional scoping guidance for CMMC 2.0.

Continue Reading No Summer Break for Cyber: Newly Unveiled CMMC Assessment Process Provides Industry with Upcoming Assessment Insights
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Major changes to the way small business contractors obtain, and agencies evaluate, past performance references are set to arrive on August 22, 2022. On July 22, 2022, the Small Business Administration (SBA) published a final rule implementing provisions of Section 868 of National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021. The rule provides two new methods for small business contractors to obtain past performance ratings upon which they may then rely when submitting offers on prime contracts with the Federal Government.

First, a small business offeror may rely on the past performance of a joint venture of which it is a member, as long as the small business was involved in performance of the joint venture’s contract(s).  To that end, when submitting a proposal, the small business must: (1) identify the joint venture; (2) specify the joint venture’s contract(s) the small business elects to rely upon; and (3) detail the duties and responsibilities the small business carried out as part of the joint venture. Provided these requirements are met, the procuring agency shall (per 13 C.F.R. § 125.11) consider the past performance of the joint venture when evaluating the past performance of the small business concern.

Continue Reading SBA to Implement New Methods for Evaluating Expanded Sources of Small Business Past Performance
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On July 18, the GSA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued an Alert Memorandum both broadcasting and criticizing the Federal Acquisition Service’s (FAS) apparent decision to expand the Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) rule to the entire Multiple Award Schedule (MAS). The TDR Pilot Program studied the potential for TDR to reduce the compliance burdens of the MAS program by replacing the various requirements Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contractors must fulfill to ensure the pricing offered to GSA customers is fair and reasonable, including the obligation to make Commercial Sales Practice disclosures and to track commercial pricing and discounts to the negotiated Basis of Award customer under the Price Reductions Clause. The GSA OIG previously criticized the TDR Pilot Program.

Continue Reading TDR Wars—Episode V: OIG Strikes Back
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This week’s episode covers a proposed rule regarding the Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers Under Service Contracts, ongoing concerns about the transition from DUNS to Unique Entity Identifier, assessment of the quality of data in USAspending.gov, and a court decision regarding suspension and debarment, and is hosted by Peter Eyre and Yuan Zhou. Crowell & Moring’s “Fastest 5 Minutes” is a biweekly podcast that provides a brief summary of significant government contracts legal and regulatory developments that no government contracts lawyer or executive should be without.

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Crowell & Moring’s “All Things Protest” podcast keeps you up to date on major trends in bid protest litigation, key developments in high-profile cases, and best practices in state and federal procurement. In this episode, hosts Christian Curran and Rob Sneckenberg highlight a recent GAO decision in which an agency’s limited record production went a bit too far.

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The General Services Administration (GSA) transition from the Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Number System (DUNS) to the Unique Entity Identifier (UEI), which took effect on April 4, 2022, has faced challenges.  Substantial verification and validation delays continue, agencies have had to issue guidance for the management of SAM delays, and even Congress is showing concerns.  

According to the Federal Service Desk (FSD), GSA requires entities to submit new validation documentation, despite the years of submissions to Dun & Bradstreet, because data rights limitations prevent SAM.gov from using previously validated data.

Continue Reading SAM Transition to UEI Plagued with Registration Processing Delays