DoD Issues Final Rule regarding Counterfeit Electronic Parts (79 Fed. Reg. 26092)

The Department of Defense issued a final rule on May 6, 2014 that sets forth contractor responsibilities related to the detection and avoidance of counterfeit electronic parts, including the obligation to report counterfeit or suspected counterfeit electronic parts.  For a detailed discussion of this new rule, see article here.

GSA Proposes Expanded Access to FSS Program for Disaster Preparedness and Response (79 Fed. Reg. 21692)

The General Services Administration issued a proposed rule on April 17, 2014 that expands access to the Federal Supply Schedule (“FSS”) program for certain non-federal entities where such entities use the program to purchase items for emergency preparedness and disaster relief.  The proposed rule applies to the American National Red Cross as well as state and local governments, and it adds “other qualified organizations” as entities that may use the FSS program.  Other qualified organizations are those that meet the requirements at 42 U.S.C. 5152, Use and Coordination of Relief Organizations.

New definitions for “preparedness,” “recovery,” “relief,” and “response” are proposed for inclusion in the Definitions section at GSAR 538.7001.  “Preparedness” includes planning and organizing to improve disaster response capabilities as well as the process of identifying personnel and equipment needed for a variety of potential disasters.  The proposed definition of “recovery” includes private-sector and nongovernmental programs to provide housing as well as long-term care and treatment of affected persons.  It also includes evaluation of the disaster to address lessons learned.  “Response” is limited to immediate actions taken during or immediately following a disaster.  The definition of “relief” refers to “response” and “recovery.”

Under the proposed rule, contractors may accept orders placed by the American National Red Cross, state and local governments, or other qualified organizations on a voluntary basis.  Comments on the proposed rule are due on June 16, 2014.

GSA Issues Final Rule to Clarify Use of Industrial Funding Fee (79 Fed. Reg. 21400)

A final rule issued by the GSA on April 16, 2014 clarifies how the government uses the Industrial Funding Fee (“IFF”) paid by contractors under the Multiple Award Schedules (“MAS”) program.  In addition to using the IFF for reimbursement of costs associated with operating the FSS program and to recoup operating costs from ordering activities, as set forth in the prior version of the GSAR, the IFF can be used to fund other eligible GSA programs.  Thus, the new rule states, “Net operating revenues generated by the IFF are also applied to fund initiatives benefitting other authorized FAS [Federal Acquisition Services] programs, in accordance with 40 U.S.C. 321.”  The final rule does not change the reporting obligations of contractors or payment of the IFF.

Proposed Rule to Standardize Incorporation of Section K in Contracts (79 Fed. Reg. 22616)

A proposed rule published on April 23, 2014 seeks to amend the FAR to include standardized language for incorporating a contractor’s representations and certifications into a contract.  The rule proposes to add a new clause entitled “Incorporation by Reference of Representations and Certifications” in Part 52 and a new section (v) to the existing clause providing contract terms and conditions for commercial item contracts (FAR 52.212-4).  These portions of the FAR will have identical language regarding incorporation of the contractor’s representations and certifications.  The rationale provided for the proposed rule is that the standard contract award forms are inconsistent in their treatment of Section K, Representations, certifications, and other statements of offerors or respondents.  The proposed rule does not change the existing representations and certifications submissions required by contractors.