WIPP's myContracting Magazine January 2015 - Page 20

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Welcome to the policy corner where we recap Congressional and agency actions which impact federal contracting. There are all kinds of actions taken by federal agencies, Capitol Hill and sometimes the President which have a direct effect on federal contractors. This column is designed to provide an easy to read summary of recent policy changes, or proposed changes, that affect women-owned businesses and federal contracting.

Sole Source, Certification Changes for WOSB Procurement Program

In an enormous win for women business owners hoping to do business with the federal government, sole source contracting will soon be part of the WOSB Procurement Program. The change was part of the FY15 defense bill that was one of the final pieces of legislation passed by the 113th Congress. The law specified that contracts could be sole-sourced if they meet three key conditions:

• Contracting Officer does not have “a reasonable expectation that 2 or more” WOSBs will submit offers

• Under $4 million ($6.5 for manufacturing)

• Contract can be awarded at a “fair and reasonable” price

WIPP led a coalition of business and women’s organizations to advocate for this change. Citing sole source authority as a primary tool to bringing more women entrepreneurs to the federal marketplace, champions in the House and Senate introduced, supported, and eventually passed this legislation. WIPP’s Chief Advocate, Ann Sullivan, detailed the intricate process that led to this victory.

As part of a compromise and in light of a recent GAO report that recommended increased oversight of the certification process, the legislation also contained new requirements regarding WOSB certification. Currently, the program allows women-owned businesses to self certify or get certified through a third-party certifier. The recently passed legislation requires small WOSBs “owned and controlled by women to be certified by a Federal agency, a State government, the Administrator, or a national certifying entity approved by the Administrator.” This removes self-certification as an option for the WOSB program.

More information on sole source authority in the WOSB Procurement Program is on WIPP’s Procurement Page and will be covered in a special WIPP webinar on sole source scheduled for January 27th at 2:00 PM EST.

Small Business Administration Issues Major Subcontracting Rule

On December 29, 2014, SBA released a proposed regulation changing limitations on subcontracting. The proposed rule would change: limits on subcontracting, affiliation and joint venture rules, calculation of annual receipts, recertification, and application of the non-manufacture rule.

Most notably, small businesses currently can only subcontract up to 50% of labor costs of small business designated contracts. The proposed regulations would change that to 50% of the total contract value. In addition, amounts subcontracted to other “similarly situated” small businesses would not count toward the 50% maximum. A similarly situated entity is one in the same small business program the contract was awarded under (e.g. 8(a) to an 8(a), Small Business to Small Business, or EDWOSB to EDWOSB). As a proposed regulation, the SBA is seeking input from affected businesses and organizations.

Contracting Updates

From the Capitol