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“Now or later?”  As individuals, we are constantly asked to prioritize our time, identifying the tasks that need to be done NOW versus those that can be put off until later.  In the bid protest context, the question arises as well when agencies seek to “fill in the gaps” in the administrative record with additional detail, a practice GAO has permitted so long as those details are consistent with the contemporaneous record.  But, as highlighted by two recent GAO sustain decisions, when agencies attempt to perform new analyses “later” in response to a protest, those efforts are often unsuccessful. Continue Reading “Better Late Than Never?” Not Really. Two Recent GAO Sustains Highlight the Importance of Contemporaneous Documentation

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The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024, signed into law on December 22, 2023, makes numerous changes to acquisition policy. Crowell & Moring’s Government Contracts Group discusses the most consequential changes for government contractors here. These include changes that impose a new conflict of interest regime for government contractors with a connection to China, impose new restrictions and requirements, require government reporting to Congress on acquisition authorities and programs, and alter other processes and procedures to which government contractors are subject. The FY 2024 NDAA also includes the Federal Data Center Enhancement Act, the American Security Drone Act, and the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2024.Continue Reading The FY 2024 National Defense Authorization Act: Key Provisions Government Contractors Should Know

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Federal contractors must be registered on SAM.gov to be eligible for award of federal contracts.  Failure to do so can have significant consequences, as the recent U.S. Court of Federal Claims (CFC) decision in Myriddian, LLC v. United States, No. 23-443 makes clear. 

In Myriddian, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

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On November 1, 2022, the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA) published its FY 2022 Report of Transactions and Proceedings, which provides statistics regarding the adjudication of appeals between contractors and the Army, Navy, Air Force, Corps of Engineers, Central Intelligence Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Contract Management Agency

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On February 4, 2022, President Biden signed an Executive Order on Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects (the “Order”) for federal construction projects valued at $35 million or more. The Order instructs federal agencies to require “every contractor or subcontractor engaged in construction” on projects valued at $35 million or more to “agree, for that project, to negotiate or become a party to” a Project Labor Agreement (“PLA”) with “one or more appropriate labor organizations.”

Federal agencies are authorized to grant exceptions to this PLA requirement under certain defined circumstances. The Order supersedes an executive order issued by then-President Obama in 2009, which had encouraged, but not mandated, the use of PLAs on construction projects valued at more than $25 million. The Order is characterized as a measure that will “promote economy and efficiency in Federal procurement” and advance “small business interests” and represents a noteworthy shift in United States federal labor policy, underscoring President Biden’s commitment to fulfilling his campaign promise to be the most labor-friendly President in history.

The Order applies to all “large-scale construction projects,” defined as a “Federal construction project within the United States for which the total estimated cost of the construction contract to the federal government is $35 million or more.” The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (“FAR Council”), in consultation with the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, may adjust this threshold based on inflation. “Construction” is defined to mean “construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, modernization, alteration, conversion, extension, repair, or improvement of buildings, structures, highways, or other real property.” It appears that the Order does not apply to federally funded projects under the control of state and/or local governments.Continue Reading President Biden’s Executive Order Mandates Project Labor Agreements for All “Large-Scale” Federal Construction Projects

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In U.S. ex rel. Foreman v. AECOM, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit confirmed that the materiality factors set forth by the Supreme Court in Universal Health Services, Inc. v. U.S. ex rel. Escobar apply to all types of False Claims Act claims and reinforced the relator’s heavy burden even at the pleading stage. This precedential opinion provides several key takeaways for defendants facing FCA liability where the significance of the allegations to the government’s payment decision is in doubt.

Foreman involved a contract to provide maintenance and management support services for the Army, including tactical vehicle and equipment maintenance, facilities management and maintenance, supply and inventory management, and transportation services. The alleged violations stemmed from the contractor submitting timesheets with improper labor hours, failing to properly log and track government property, and hitting a consistently low man-hour utilization (“MHU”) rate—the ratio of time personnel would spend actively engaged in maintenance projects. After the government declined to intervene, the district court dismissed the relator’s claims for failure to plausibly allege materiality.

On appeal, the Second Circuit largely affirmed the district court, while reversing only as to the allegations of labor overcharging due to the lower court’s improper reliance on a document not incorporated into the complaint. The Court’s discussion with respect to the other allegations provides important guidance as to the materiality analysis and the burdens that apply at the pleading stage.Continue Reading Second Circuit Reinforces the Relator’s Burden to Plead Materiality

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In Tolliver Group, Inc. v. United States, No. 2020-2341, 2021 WL 5872256 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 13, 2021), the Federal Circuit vacated and remanded the Court of Federal Claims’ (“COFC”) decision holding that the contractor was entitled to an equitable adjustment for damages caused by the Government’s breach of the implied warranty that satisfactory contract

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During December 2021, the House and Senate reached agreement on a compromise National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022.  On December 23, 2021, Congress presented S. 1605 to President Biden, which he signed on December 27, 2021.

The FY2022 NDAA contains numerous provisions relating to acquisition policy—which provide new opportunities for government contractors, will result in the imposition of new clauses or reporting requirements on government contractors, require government reporting to Congress on acquisition authorities and programs, alter processes and/or procedures to which government contractors are subject, etc.  Crowell & Moring’s Government Contracts Group discusses the most consequential changes in the FY2022 NDAA for government contractors below.
Continue Reading National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022: Acquisition Policy Changes of Which Government Contractors Should Be Aware

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Government Contractors who are concerned with how their companies are navigating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) efforts will want to read a new report by Crowell & Moring. A recent survey of top decision-makers by Crowell & Moring finds that nearly 80% of responding companies have identified and adopted environmental performance goals beyond what regulations

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On November 18, 2021, President Biden signed an executive order, “Executive Order on Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers Under Service Contracts” requiring, in most instances, that federal Service contracts and solicitations for such contracts include a clause which mandates that the awardee (and its subcontractors) of a follow-on Service contract for “same or similar