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Contract management

The push to buy “Made in America” just got bigger

Last week President Biden announced actions to amplify his “made in America” pledge for federal procurements. These actions came in the form of a pending final rule that builds on the Biden administration’s “Made in America” efforts, announced via executive order in January of 2021. (Federal Computer Week March 8, 2022)

To qualify as “Made in America” for federal procurement, at least 55% of the value of the component parts of a product must be made in the US. The final rule will increase the threshold to 60% in 2022, 65% in 2024, and 75% in 2029, and close any current regulation loopholes. Additionally, it will create more opportunities for small and medium-sized and disadvantaged businesses. (ibid)

The final rule also institutes a foundation for the government “to apply enhanced price preferences to select critical products and components identified in a subsequent rulemaking,” according to a fact-sheet from the White House. “These preferences, once in place, will support the development and expansion of domestic supply chains. They provide a source of stable demand for domestically-produced critical products.” (ibid)

To smooth the transition and assist industry in their preparation for the new domestic content threshold, the final rule will take effect on October 25. This allows time to train the acquisition workforce on the new concepts of the final rule. (ibid)

Currently, there is no ability to verify claims made by contractors regarding the percentage of domestically made content in their products. The Administration plans to institute a reporting requirement validating the percentage of domestically made content in products. Biden pledged this during his announcement, last year. (ibid)

During President Biden’s State of the Union address, he said, “we’ll buy American to make sure everything from the deck of an aircraft carrier to the steel on highway guardrails is made in America from beginning to end.” According to Lonnie Stephenson, international president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Biden administration’s Made in America efforts “support good-paying, union jobs across the country.”

A new Made in America office is being created within the Office of the Management and Budget. Celeste Drake, director of the Made in America Office, recently said, “our strategy is working; businesses are investing in American manufacturing at historic rates.”

Questions about the “Made in America” rule and your current government contract or an upcoming proposal? Give us a call.

Federal contractors minimum wage reset

Federal contractors enjoyed a minimum wage raise on January 1, 2021. This was the first increase since President Obama was in office. Even so, on April 27, 2021, President Biden signed EO 14026, raising the hourly minimum wage to $15 ($10.50 for tipped workers.) The United States Department of Labor published Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) No. 2022-1 clarifying the requirements of EO 14026. (JD Supra January 17, 2022)

The four categories of contracts covered are:

  • Procurement contracts for construction covered by the Davis-Bacon Act (DBA).
  • Service Contracts covered by the Service Contract Act (SCA).
  • Concessions contracts.
  • Contracts entered into with the Federal Government in connection with Federal property or lands and related to offering services for Federal employees, their dependents, or the general public. (ibid)

The FAB includes all 50 states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. It also includes the Outer Continental Shelf Lands as defined in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Wake Island, and Johnston Island. (ibid)

EO 14026 covers workers whose wages are governed by the FLSA, SCA, or DBA and are employed on or in connection with a covered contract. (ibid)

In addition to the increase in minimum wages, the FAB supplies information on worker notice requirements, subcontractor requirements, recordkeeping requirements, and anti-retaliation provisions and remedies. The FAB also requires contracting agencies to incorporate all applicable EO contract clauses into covered prime contracts and flow down to subcontractors’ contracts. (ibid)

Questions about the Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) and its requirements? Give us a call.

Are you a MAS contractor or want to be one?

GSA is working to make it easier for prospective and current Multiple Award Schedule contractors to work with them. They have recently launched a new and improved Vendor Support Center (VSC).

According to eBuy’s Senior Program Analyst Rich Carlson, “our goals for this website overhaul were three-fold. One, we wanted to modernize the bedrock technology and make security enhancements, which aligns with VSC with other websites we’ve updated like GSA Advantage!. Second, we prioritized improving the user experience. And third, we needed to make business process improvements so the website is easier to maintain.” (GSA Blog January 12, 2022)

For the VSC update, GSA went straight to industry. An RFI was released in November with site navigation, help desk availability, and plain language as the main areas of focus. Based on the information obtained from feedback the VSC is searchable content takes less time and is much easier to find. The dynamic search function allows users to see all content when a word or phrase is entered into the search box. (ibid)

Another benefit of the VSC update is the ease of finding help desk information. The home page contains three types of locators for users individual Procurement Contracting Officer (PCO), Administrative Contracting Officer (ACO), and Industrial Operations Analyst (IOA). (ibid)

VSC site navigation is organized by: “I Want a Contract,” “Managing my Contract,” and “Contract Sales.” In addition, the new page “MAS Project Center,” stores resources for all MAS special projects. (ibid)

GSA is continually looking for ways to improve the customer experience and make it easier to do business with them. The new VSC is located at vsc.gsa.gov/vsc/. (ibid)

Questions about the new VSC or how to get started on your journey to a contract with GSA? Give us a call.

Back to Basics

If you are a long-time government contract holder or just beginning your government contracting journey, it is helpful to know the various forms of government contracts. According to GovCon Wire, these are the following 5 categories of government contracting.

Fixed-Price Contracts

The pricing of a fixed-price contract never changes. All risk is borne by the contract. The vendor works with what is provided by the government

Indefinite Delivery & Indefinite Quantity Contracts

Sometimes an agency isn’t exactly certain of its requirements. An agency may not know the exact amount of material or length of time required by a vendor to offer a service. Because of this, these are adaptable government contracts. They may also be called Task Order Contracts or Delivery Order Contracts.

Time & Materials Contracts

The contracting agency establishes a per-hour labor rate, evaluates materials costs, and puts in place a price ceiling. Vendors who find they can deliver services within a budget will find this an appealing option. Often contracts for emergency services are short-term. The contractor will deliver only labor and are called labor-hour contracts.

Cost Reimbursement Contracts

This form of contract tends to place greater risk on the government agency. This form of contract tends to lean towards research and development as opposed to actual goods or services. There are various cost-reimbursement contract subcategories, including cost/cost-sharing, cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost-plus award fee, and cost-plus incentive fee.

Incentive Contracts

This form of contract is actually based on a cost-reimbursement contract or a fixed-price contract, with added incentives. A government agency may award an incentive cract to a business who can complete a project swiftly. If the vendor completes the project ahead of schedule, the vendor may be eligible for an incentive (bonus). (GovCon Wire October 2021)

Do you have questions or need assistance with a government contract? Give us a call.

Biden’s Management Agenda Vision includes Acquisition Priorities

The Biden Management Agenda was released last week. The Agenda includes the critical areas of strengthening the federal workforce, upgrading the customer experience, and administering the business of government. Government CIO Media and Research, November 19, 2021

The goal of the Agenda is to restore Americans’ faith in the government. The Agenda has three main objectives:

  • Strengthen/empower the federal workforce.
  • Deliver secure, equitable, and outstanding federal services as well as customer experiences.
  • Manage the business of government to “build back better.”

To achieve this, cybersecurity and IT modernization will be foundational tools for government management and mission delivery. (ibid)

According to the Agenda vision statement, “Agencies will continue to work together to enhance and secure government information technology as vital support and a catalyst for mission delivery. The COVID-19 pandemic showed us how critical IT investments are to supporting mission delivery and the essential work of government.” (ibid)

The vision statement reads, “OPM and OMB also will continue to build out tools to support agency human resources professionals in data-driven strategic workforce planning and decision-making related to employee engagement, inclusion, and organizational performance.” The focus will be to ” make every federal job a good job.” The plan is to accomplish this through competitive compensation, enhanced engagement, and mission delivery, and union opportunities. (ibid)

The second objective is to make the delivery of improved customer service, a priority. The Biden administration wants to meet people where they are rather than ask the public to navigate through the many, and often hidden, government services areas. (ibid)

The vision statement reads, “Human-centered design research will drive the management of federal programs to develop a comprehensive understanding of how individuals interact with federal services. Through this process, agencies will identify barriers to service delivery and how those barriers create undue burdens on those the government serves, in particular for underserviced communities.” (ibid)

The third objective is improving federal acquisition and financial management systems. The Biden administration plans to prioritize US manufacturing as a way to stop future supply chain disruptions. The Administration plans for upcoming major acquisitions to support a reduction in carbon output. (ibid)

The agenda vision statement reads, “accomplishing these collective and activities will also require continuous improvements in our procurement, financial assistance, and financial management ecosystems. This shift will require new measures and processes, new training for the federal workforce, and new tradeoffs that agencies will need to address going forward.” (ibid)

The “next steps” within the Management Agenda are set to be released in early 2022. (ibid)

 

Questions about how this will affect future procurements? Give us a call.