By: David S. Gallacher
2011 was a banner year for U.S. export control laws. The Obama administration has vowed to streamline and reform the bloated U.S. export control system – promising to build "higher walls" around a narrower universe of goods and technologies requiring export licenses. Following is a summary of ten of the key reforms to U.S. export laws that took place (or were proposed) in 2011.
By: David S. Gallacher
While Vice President Biden was busy touting Summer 2010 as the “Summer of Recovery” and the economic effects of the February 2009 Stimulus Act (a.k.a. the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Recovery Act, ARRA, the Stimulus Act, etc.), the gears of the regulatory process ground steadily onward. Throughout the summer, the White House Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) issued updated policy guidance implementing the ARRA requirements, and the rule-makers in the FAR Councils remained hard at work updating and (hopefully) finalizing the regulations implementing the finer details of the Recovery Act. Despite the fact that the ARRA funding officially expired on September 30, 2010 (meaning that any unobligated ARRA funds will now revert to the federal treasury to be saved or spent another day), the Government spent its summer fine-tuning the regulations. As the sun begins to set on the Recovery Act, and as the Summer of Recovery fades into the past, we summarize here some of the key features of the final Recovery Act rules promulgated over the last few months.
By Alexander W. Major
Effective October 1, 2010, the final rule amending FAR subpart 15.4 expands government contracting officers’ ability to obtain cost or price-related data for all contracts, including currently exempted commercial-items contracts. The amended rule is intended to clarify the FAR’s definition of “cost or pricing data” and to make the definition consistent with that used in the Truth in Negotiations Act (“TINA”) (10 U.S.C. §2306a and 41 U.S.C. §254b). The final rule’s effect, however, may increase both a government contractor’s disclosure requirements and its False Claims Act vulnerability.
By Townsend L. Bourne
The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council issued a final rule on August 30, 2010 adjusting acquisition-related thresholds for inflation as set forth in section 807 of the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005. 75 Fed. Reg. 53129. Section 807 dictates that acquisition-related thresholds must be adjusted for inflation every five years using the Consumer Price Index for all-urban consumers. Pub. L. No. 108-375, 118 Stat. 1811 (2004). This section does not allow for adjustments to thresholds contained in the Davis-Bacon Act, the Service Contract Act of 1965, or Title III of the Trade Agreements Act of 1979.
The FAR Councils issued an interim rule, effective October 14, 2009, revising the circumstances under which services not offered and sold commercially can still qualify as commercial services. This is important for a couple of reasons, but probably most importantly, because commerciality can eliminate the requirement for the submission of cost or pricing data and can limit the amount of Government contracting requirements to which a company is subjected. The new interim rule now permits a Contracting Officer determination of commerciality even where services are not offered and sold competitively in substantial quantities in the commercial marketplace.
Trust, but E-Verify: A Cheat Sheet for Mandatory Employment Eligibility Verification by Federal Contractors
The final rule mandating E-Verify for federal contractors became effective on September 8, 2009. The lawsuit that stayed implementation of E-Verify since January ended with the district court’s granting of the Government’s motion for summary judgment. As long as Congress continues to fund E-Verify, it should remain a permanent fixture of federal procurement.
The Administration has conceded that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“ARRA”) has not worked as planned. With unemployment numbers continuing to climb, the Administration now acknowledges it “misread the economy.” But from the beginning not everyone believed ARRA would achieve the desired stimulative effect. After all, $787 billion cannot be disbursed without some complication.
With its mission to discuss and recommend changes to the MAS program, including price reductions provisions, most favored customer status, and practices in commercial pricing, the Multiple Award Schedule (“MAS”) Advisory Panel has voted on several recommendations to present to the Administrator of GSA. The Panel has been meeting since April last year, and currently is preparing its final recommendations. This Blog obtained a copy of the recommendations already adopted by the Panel.
New Rules For Commercial Off-The-Shelf Products Exempts BAA Components And Exempts Recycled Content Reporting Requirement
On January 15, 2009, the FAR Councils issued the final rule on the purchase of commercial-off-the-shelf ("COTS") products, adding a new section to the FAR to be effective on February 17, 2009. See 74 Federal Register 2713.Continue Reading...