Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Tag: President Biden

A New Rule for Cleaner Contracts


The Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and NASA have jointly issued a final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation to enforce the procurement and utilization of sustainable products and services as identified or recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This initiative aims to align federal agencies with environmentally responsible practices, promoting the purchase of products and services that meet specific sustainability criteria. Notably, the rule mandates the acquisition of WaterSense-label water-efficient products and services, as well as Safer Choice-certified products containing safer chemical ingredients, as outlined by the White House. (Executive Gov April 22, 2024)

In addition to the specified product requirements, the final rule compels federal agencies to adhere to the EPA’s recommended environmental standards and ecolabels, which were updated in October 2023. These standards serve as guidance for purchasers to accurately identify and procure environmentally preferable products and services, contributing to the overall sustainability efforts of the government. EPA Administrator Michael Regan emphasized the significance of these enhanced purchasing standards in advancing the administration’s environmental objectives while concurrently bolstering domestic manufacturing and fostering economic growth nationwide. (ibid)

Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Brenda Mallory, underscored the role of the new standards in supporting President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. By prioritizing the purchase of sustainable products and services certified to EPA-recommended standards and ecolabels, federal agencies can contribute to job creation within the United States while advancing climate action and environmental sustainability goals. Ultimately, this final rule is aligned with the Biden administration’s Federal Sustainability Plan, which aims to achieve net-zero emissions and other procurement objectives by 2050, signaling a significant step towards a more sustainable future.

Looking to align your contracts more closely to the GSA/NASA final FAR regulation? Give us a call.

The Department of Defense is making Small Business their business

The Federal Register recently posted a request for comments which stated, “The participation of dynamic, resilient, and innovative small businesses in the defense industrial base is critical to the United States’ efforts to maintain its technological superiority, military readiness, and warfighting advantage. The department seeks public input on the barriers that small businesses face in working with the department. This input will be used to update the department’s Small Business Strategy led by the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Small Business Programs.” (Nextgov September 15, 2021)

DoD is looking to reinforce President Biden’s executive orders supporting underserved communities while promoting American competition. Some specific areas of exploration are:

  • What regulations or business practices hinder the relationship between small businesses and the government?
  • How do the department’s initiatives (The Mentor-Protege Program, Indian Incentive Program, Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, the Rapid Innovation Fund, Small business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer), support or impact small businesses?
  • How do contracting timelines impact small businesses?
  •  Are skilled workforces attainable to “sustain a competitive small business ecosystem?”
  • How the coronavirus pandemic has impacted small businesses in the defense industrial base. (ibid)

At a recent Pennsylvania Showcase on Commerce, Defense Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks said, “over the past decade, small businesses in the defense industrial base shrunk by over 40%. The data shows that if we continue along the same trend, we could lose an additional 15,000 suppliers over the next 10 years.” She noted that the department is committed to making it more straightforward for small businesses to win contracts and referenced the Request for Comments notice in the Federal Register.

President Biden is “committed to nurturing small businesses that have faced historic barriers in rural and urban America, including businesses owned by veterans, women, and people of color-especially Black, Latino and Asian American businesses.” President Biden’s goal is to double the number of federal contracts awarded to small and disadvantaged businesses, in the next few years.

The Department of Defense is looking for input by October 25, 2021, to their Request for Comments. If you have questions about the RFC or are looking to work with the DoD or other government agency, give us a call.

 

 

What the new Minimum Wage Executive Order means

In late April, President Biden signed an executive order, requiring government contractors to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022. Censeo Consulting Group analyzed the effect of the federal worker minimum wage increase. They determined that approximately 30,520 contracts will require modification. In addition, they expect the modifications to add 450,000 additional contracting office, workload hours. This equates to about 240 additional full-time positions. (ExecutiveGov May 27, 2021)

The executive order will impact federal spending from between $1 and $2 billion. Agencies can prepare by:

  • Segmenting contract portfolio by delivery location and spend category, highlighting impacted contracts
  • Developing a policy and process for addressing impacted contracts
  • Analyze internal pricing to identify contracts requiring modifications (ibid)

The departments of Veterans Affairs, Defense, Agriculture, and State are most impacted by the executive order and are likely preparing to make their contract modifications on or before the 2022 deadline.

Do you need to modify your contract? Give us a call.

 

New ‘Made in America’ EO

On 25 January, President Biden issued a “Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers” executive order. (Government Executive, February 24, 2021)

Before the executive order takes effect:

  • New rules mandating the executive order must go through the formal rule-making process
  • Within 180 days, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council should consider replacing the “component test” (50 percent of a product’s cost must have a domestic origin)
  • The threshold for domestic content requirements for construction materials and end products will be increased, as well price preferences for domestic construction materials and end products

The order directs the FAR Council to assess exceptions from the Act for commercial information technology (IT). Recommendations will likely influence solution strategies. A Made in America office within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will be created, which will review waivers to purchase goods from outside the United States. Additionally, the Order mandates a list of actions to be performed within 45 days of the office director’s appointment. (ibid)

Biden’s EO also proposes that GSA create a public website for proposed waivers. Justification for all waivers will be publicly available, giving competitors the ability to weigh-in on waiver requests, likely diminishing the issuance of waivers. Contractors should consider this when determining their sourcing approach. (ibid)

Questions concerning your current as well as future government contracts and how the new order will affect them? Give us a call.