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Congress has not passed crucial funding bills for the start of FY 2022 and, on September 28, 2021, Treasury Secretary Yellen informed Congress that Treasury now estimates that the Federal government will reach the debt ceiling by October 18.  As a result, we again face the prospect of a government shutdown for lack of funding.  While Congress may yet take action, agencies across the government are likely to begin taking steps to prepare for a shutdown, and contractors should do so as well.

Although the issues that contractors would face under a government shutdown may vary with the circumstances of individual contracts, there are a number of common considerations. Based on our experience under prior Federal government shutdowns, these include:

  • Where Is the Money? For incrementally funded contracts, a “shutdown” situation is likely similar to those experienced at the end of any fiscal year when there is a “gap” between appropriations. Contractors will need to consider the implications of the various standard clauses (Limitation of Costs, Limitation of Funds, Limitation of Government Obligations) that may affect the government’s obligation to pay costs in excess of the amounts already obligated to their contracts. Of particular concern will be the standard provisions in those clauses that may limit the government’s liability for termination costs in the event that the contracts are eventually terminated without new funding. Contractors will need to decide whether to continue to perform or to take the actions authorized when funding is insufficient to pay for anticipated costs. But for contracts that are fully funded or that have incremental funding sufficient to cover all anticipated costs, including termination costs, a shutdown would not normally create new funding risks.


Continue Reading Potential Federal Government Shutdown: Crowell & Moring Identifies and Answers Common Questions

On July 21, 2021, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced that it is seeking public comment on a proposed rule which would require federal contractors to pay a $15.00 per hour minimum wage by January 30, 2022. The rule would implement President Biden’s April 27, 2021 Executive Order 14026 (“EO 14026”), which mandated an increase

On July 29, 2021, President Biden announced certain actions to “get more people vaccinated.”  The White House announced that “every federal government employee and onsite contractor will be asked to attest to their vaccination status. Anyone who does not attest to being fully vaccinated will be required to wear a mask on the job no

On January 19, 2021, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed a district court’s rejection at summary judgment of a disgruntled employee’s False Claims Act (FCA) retaliation claim in Hickman v. Spirit of Athens, No. 19-10945 (11th Cir. Jan. 19, 2021). The Court’s decision makes clear that, despite expansions to the FCA in 2009 and 2010 protecting employees who engage in “efforts to stop 1 or more violations” of the FCA, plaintiffs must nevertheless establish that they held an objectively reasonable belief that they were attempting to prevent the submission of false claims to the government for their conduct to constitute protected activity.

The plaintiffs worked for Spirit of Athens, a nonprofit organization. The executive director became concerned in reviewing tax returns that $61,000 of the organization’s expenses were generally categorized as “other expenses” without any further explanation. The executive director verbally retracted her signature on the tax forms, but the organization’s president signed and submitted them himself. The executive director and her assistant then arranged for the board members to receive a copy of the tax documents, shared their concerns with the president, and even hired an outside firm to audit the organization’s tax returns. Apparently unhappy with the executive director and her assistant’s conduct, the president fired them. The two then brought suit against the organization, claiming that they were terminated for “their attempts to combat the organization’s misuse of federal funds.” The district court granted summary judgment for the defendant, finding that plaintiffs had failed to establish that they had engaged in protected activity under the FCA.


Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit Holds that a Sincere Belief is not the Same as a Reasonable One Under the False Claims Act’s Retaliation Provision

On January 6, 2021, the DoD issued a class deviation, effective immediately, to implement the nationwide court order enjoining Sections 4 and 5 of Executive Order (EO) 13950, Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping, as well as guidance provided by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). EO 13950 prohibits federal agencies, contractors, and

The Trump administration continues to pursue enforcement of its Executive Order 13950 (the EO), while lawsuits filed by two civil rights groups’ work their way through federal courts. The EO bans federal contractors from utilizing training that “inculcates in its employees any form of race or sex stereotyping,” which is defined as “ascribing character traits,

The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. has filed suit on behalf of the National Urban League and the National Fair Housing Alliance in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the lawfulness and validity of Executive Order 13950, Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping, issued on September 22, 2020.

Two weeks after President Trump issued an “Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping,” which bans federal contractors from utilizing training that “inculcates in its employees any form of race or sex stereotyping,” the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has issued its first guidance on the EO.

Notably, the guidance

On August 3, 2020, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order framed as “Aligning Federal Contracting and Hiring Practices With the Interests of American Workers.” The Order declares the “policy of the executive branch to create opportunities for United States workers to compete for jobs, including jobs created through Federal contracts,” and directs

   Labor Update

In Alutiiq Commercial Enterprise, LLC (Jan. 9, 2020), the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals held that a contractor is entitled to an equitable adjustment under the Service Contract Act Price Adjustment Clause, FAR 52.222-43, for increased labor costs associated with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement executed after an