Photo of Adelicia R. CliffePhoto of William B. O'ReillyPhoto of Allison Skager

As previewed in President Biden’s State of the Union Address, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a proposed rule and notification of proposed guidance on February 9, 2023 to improve uniformity and consistency in the implementation of Build America, Buy America (BABA) requirements applicable to federally funded infrastructure projects pursuant to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

This proposed rulemaking builds on preliminary guidance OMB issued on April 18, 2022, shortly before the BABA requirements became effective in May 2022. While the preliminary guidance focused heavily on agency waivers (both in terms of process and criteria), the proposed rule describes how the requirements related to manufactured products, iron and steel, and construction material will be interpreted. Continue Reading Buy America, by Americans—Office of Management and Budget Solicits Industry Input on Harmonizing Domestic Preference Regimes

Photo of Brittany KouroupasPhoto of Peter J. EyrePhoto of Anuj VohraPhoto of M.Yuan Zhou

On December 27, 2022, President Biden signed into law the Preventing Organizational Conflicts of Interest in Federal Acquisition Act (S.3905) to strengthen the current rules relating to identification and mitigation of organizational conflicts of interest (OCIs) in federal acquisition. The Act focuses on updating the current FAR provision, Subpart 9.5, to provide clear definitions, examples

Photo of Amy Laderberg O'SullivanPhoto of Olivia LynchPhoto of Zachary Schroeder

On September 23, 2022, the FAR Council issued a number of final rules amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to reflect changes previously implemented by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to its regulations on women-owned small businesses and HUBZones, as well as to clarify policy on joint ventures in small business contracting. 

The final rule on HUBZones (87 FR 58232) aligns the FAR’s definition of a HUBZone in provisions and clauses such as FAR 2.101, 52.212-3, 52.219-1, 52.219-8 and 52.219-9 to refer to the requirements described in 13 C.F.R. § 126.200 and SBA’s designation of a HUBZone small business concern in the Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS). This is in line with the SBA’s recent revisions to the HUBZone regulations via which SBA annually certifies HUBZone entities in order to allow such entities to remain eligible for HUBZone contracts for the entire year rather than such entities being required to represent their status for each offer. Higher-tier contractors are required to confirm that a subcontractor representing itself as a HUBZone small business concern is certified by SBA as a HUBZone small business concern by accessing SAM or by accessing DSBS. The rule also allows contracting officers to award HUBZone set-aside and sole-source contracts at or below the simplified acquisition threshold. Continue Reading FAR Updated to Reflect Revised SBA Regulations

Photo of Alexandra Barbee-GarrettPhoto of Peter J. EyrePhoto of Thomas P. Gies

On August 18, 2022, the FAR Council issued a proposed amendment to the FAR implementing Executive Order 14063, Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects, which requires the use of project labor agreements (PLAs) on any large-scale federal construction projects valued at or above $35 million unless an exception applies.  The Order, and the proposed rule, also give agencies discretion to use PLAs on projects under that $35 million threshold. 

In addition to expanding definitions of “construction,” “labor organization,” and “large-scale construction project” to align with E.O. 14063, the proposed rule would revise FAR 22.503 to reflect the change in policy that mandates agencies to require the use of PLAs when awarding large-scale federal construction contracts—including individual orders under Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity contracts—unless an exception applies.  The proposed rule would make the PLA requirement a mandatory flow-down.  The proposed rule would also allow agencies to include any additional agency-specific requirements in a PLA through FAR 22.504(b)(6), and would strike the current FAR 22.504(c), which grants agencies discretion to specify PLA terms and conditions. Continue Reading FAR Council Proposes New Rule on Project Labor Agreements for Major Construction Projects

Photo of Nicole Owren-WiestPhoto of Skye MathiesonPhoto of Alexandra Barbee-GarrettPhoto of Catherine Shames

In L3 Technologies, Inc., ASBCA Nos. 61811, et al. (Mar. 1, 2021), the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (Board) granted the Government’s motion to dismiss the appeal, over the contractor’s objection, following the Contracting Officer’s (CO) unequivocal withdrawal of its cost disallowance claims. The contractor argued that its case was not moot despite

Photo of Adelicia R. CliffePhoto of Lorraine M. CamposPhoto of M.Yuan ZhouPhoto of Stephanie Crawford

On July 14, the FAR Council published an interim rule revising FAR 52.204-24 and FAR 52.204-25 to implement Section 889(a)(1)(B) of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) prohibiting executive agencies from entering into, renewing, or extending contracts with contractors that use Huawei, ZTE, or other identified telecommunications equipment and services (“covered telecommunications equipment and

Photo of Adelicia R. CliffePhoto of M.Yuan ZhouPhoto of Stephanie Crawford

Section 889(a)(1)(B) of the FY 2019 NDAA, scheduled to become effective on August 13, 2020, bars the Government from entering into a contract, or extending or renewing a contract, with any entity that uses certain covered telecommunications equipment or services. The prohibition against “use” of covered equipment applies broadly to a contractor’s “use” anywhere within

Photo of Nicole Owren-WiestPhoto of Trina Fairley BarlowPhoto of Michelle Coleman

   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

Photo of Lorraine M. CamposPhoto of Adelicia R. Cliffe

Today, in Acetris Health, LLC v. United States, the Federal Circuit held that a pharmaceutical manufactured in the United States qualified for sale, under the TAA, to the Department of Veterans Affairs even though the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) came from a non-designated country, India. In reaching this decision, the court questioned, without deciding,

Photo of Charles BaekPhoto of Nicole Owren-Wiest

Contractors looking for updates to the statutory allowable cost limits on employee compensation may be looking in the wrong place.  But what was once lost can easily be found, at least for the moment, by simply navigating to a different website.

The Cost Principles and the Compensation Cap

FAR 31.205-6(p)(4) governs the allowable compensation of contractor and subcontractor employees.  It promulgates section 702 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (“BBA”), which set an initial limit on allowable contractor and subcontractor employee compensation costs at $487,000 per year.  “Compensation” is defined broadly to include the total amount of wages, salary, bonuses, deferred compensation, and employer contributions to defined contribution pension plans.  According to the BBA, the cap is to be adjusted annually based on the Employment Cost Index calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The BBA repealed the prior existing formula for determining the relevant compensation cap under 41 U.S.C. § 1127 and applies to contracts awarded on or after June 24, 2014.  It also provided agencies with the authority to establish “one or more narrowly targeted exceptions” for certain specialists.Continue Reading Hidden in Plain Sight: Where, Oh Where, Have the Compensation Caps Gone?