Not a “tricky” October 31st Deadline

A Multiple Award Schedule deadline is fast approaching. All contractors must do the following to remain in compliance with the MAS Consolidation Mass Mod A812:

  1. Update your catalog in GSA Advantage
  2. Update your Price List (text file) (GSA Interact September 8, 2020)

To remain in GSA Advantage, your SIP or EDI catalog to the consolidated MAS SINs must be updated before October 31, 2020, or you risk disruption to your catalog status or access to eTools. To accomplish the update, see the SIP/EDI Catalog Update Guide. All catalog submissions must be approved by your CO. (ibid)

Additionally, all schedule holders must update their Price List (Text File) using the MAS Consolidation Price List Guide, organizing their contract offerings under the new SIN structure. (ibid)

To aid contractors with their updates, webinars are being offered as well as a Vendor Support Center Help Desk at vendor.support@gsa.gov or call 877-495-4849. (ibid)

Having trouble getting your questions answered? Give us a call.

Practical Applications on the Chinese Tech Ban

On 23 July, the Defense Department released a memo explaining requirements for companies and contractors when the ban of telecommunications equipment made by Huawei and other China-based companies goes into effect. (Federal Computer Week, July 27, 2020)

Beginning 13 August, no contracts will be issued or extended to contractors using technologies or services and equipment made by Hikvision, ZTE or those listed in section 889(a)(1)(B) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019. Any contract, task/delivery order, and off-the-shelf items purchased after 13 August must include language invoking regulation for the ban. Additionally, indefinite delivery contracts are required to be modified. (ibid)

There is a waiver process, however, pursuable by agencies. According to Alan Dhvotkin PSC executive vice president and counsel, the waiver “will most likely begin with issues identified by the telecommunications provider to its federal agency customer. The federal agency then asks for an ODNI review, which will conduct a risk assessment.” A granted waiver lasts two years and may be requested at any time. (Federal Computer Week, July 22, 2020)

Have questions or need a waiver? Give us a call.

 

What Brand is Your Telcom and Video?

Section 889 of the FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act was passed to fight national security and intellectual property threats to the United States.  The legislation includes two prohibitions Part A and Part B. (GSA Section 889 Industry Focused Flyer, GSA.gov, July 16, 2020)

Part A, which became effective on August 13, 2019 bans telecommunications/video surveillance equipment made by the following companies:

  • Huawei Technologies Company
  • ZTE Corporation
  • Hytera Communications Corporation
  • Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company
  • Dahua Technology Company

Part A can be found in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) at FAR subpart 2.1.

Part B, effective 13 August 2020, prohibits the government from contracting with any organization that uses equipment or services of any of the companies listed under Part A. Part B applies, whether or not that usage is in performance of work under a Federal contract. In other words, if you use any of the banned companies in the fulfillment of a  non-government contract, you will be prohibited from working with the government. All contractors must verify whether they do or do not use prohibited telecommunications/video surveillance equipment or services. Part B has been added to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) at FAR subpart 4.21. (ibid)

GSA recommends companies to complete an in-depth review of all in-house technology to rule out using banned companies in Part A . If prohibited equipment or services are being used, companies that wish to continue doing business with the government must eliminate them. GSA does not take responsibility for changes contractors make, unless done so by a modification to a current contract.

However, two possible waiver procedures with extremely high standards are available. This is to ensure waivers are not used to get “around” the prohibitions.

GSA is modifying all solicitations, Indefinite Delivery Vehicles (IDVs), GWACs, and other IDIQ contracts, to include Section 889 Part B requirements immediately. These requirements will be added to GSA’s existing non-IDV contracts as those contracts have their periods of performance extended.

GSA is hosting the following events so that industry may obtain additional guidance:

  1. The GSA Office of Small Business Utilization webinar on Section 889, July 30, 2020, 2:00 p.m. EST, registration may be found here.
  2. GSA recorded virtual webinar August 12, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. EST, registration forthcoming. This webinar will include leaders from GSA’s business lines explaining how they are implementing Section 889 into their business lines and panelists will answer pre-collected questions. (Questions may be sent to gsaombudsman@gsa.gov to arrive by COB August 5, 2020.) (ibid)

GSA recommends that vendors study the tools and publications to aid their understanding and compliance, as provided in Acquisition.gov.

Not certain if your contract is affected by Section 889 Part B and if so, what you can do? Give us a call.

Oh, the Things beta.sam.gov Can Do!

In January, FedBizOpps moved to beta.SAM.gov. What was once in FBO can now be found under Contract Opportunities in beta.SAM.gov. (GSA Interact, June 9, 2020)

Users can now save “contract opportunity” searches and receive emails when changes occur, which saves time from having to constantly search to see if changes have occurred. The set up for these notifications as well as other frequently asked questions are found under FAQS.

If you are looking for information about NAICS code or PSC, instructions including detailed videos may be found here. In addition, there are instructions for searching by place of performance in this video. (ibid)

Some major improvements, still in the development stages are:

  • Updated keyword search to allow phrase searches. This includes entering phrases in the search bar and obtaining focused results. This function will remove the current requirement of entering multiple terms in quotation marks, which can lead to unrelated results.
  • Development site improvements. The use of micro frontends allows for a superior experience as it minimizes interruptions by allowing individual systems parts to be upgraded rather than the entire site.
  • Future improvements. Look for enhancement to beta.SAM.gov, such as scheduling future searches and the option for filtering federal organization below sub-tier. Additionally, the ability to search for multiple states in a single search is on the horizon. (ibid)

For additional help, videos go to the beta.SAM.gov learning center. Assistance may also be found at the Federal Service Desk from 8 AM to 8 PM EST Monday through Friday at FSD.gov.

Feeling a little overwhelmed by beta.SAM.gov? Give us a call.

Speedy Payments? Yes Please.

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) is changing to allow government contracting small businesses to get paid within 15 days of invoicing. Furthermore, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of the Treasury (Treasury), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the General Services Administration (GSA) are working together to issue a memorandum that authorizes the expedited payments in advance of the updated changes to the FAR. (JDSUPRA, May 14, 2020)

Contractors should contact their government Contracting Officer to facilitate those payments. For example, a DHS Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) recipient currently paid within 30 days of invoicing may be eligible for a contract modification to accelerate payments upon the exercise of any options under that contract. (ibid)

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, Section 873, requires agencies to establish an accelerated payment date for certain contracts with a goal of payment 15 days after an invoice is received, if a specific payment date is not established by the contract. The change will be implemented via an applicable FAR revision.

Other formal additions to the FAR include 52.212-5 (Contract Terms and Conditions Required to Implement Statutes or Executive Orders – Commercial items), FAR 52.213-4 (Terms and Conditions – Simplified Acquisitions (Other Thank Commercial Items)), and FAR 52.244-6 (Subcontracts and Commercial Items.) (ibid)

This is great news for small businesses looking to decrease hardships produced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Questions about the FAR changes and the expedited payment memorandum? Give us a call.