The U.S. antiboycott laws and regulations have been around since the era of disco. In stark contrast to fast-moving sanctions and export controls, we rarely see updates to the antiboycott regulations or enforcement strategies. Last October, however, the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced enhancements to its antiboycott enforcement strategy. As part of its implementation of this updated enforcement strategy, BIS has both expanded the scope of required antiboycott reports and flagged antiboycott compliance specifically for government contractors. These moves demonstrate how BIS plans to focus its enforcement efforts on Federal contractors.Continue Reading Antiboycott Update for Government Contractors and More
Ryan Roberts is a partner in the Governmental Practice in the firm's Washington, D.C. office. He is also a member of the firm's Aerospace and Defense and Retail Industry Teams.
In fiscal year 2022 alone, the Federal Government is estimated to have spent over $1 trillion in grant and assistance programs – a little less than double the Federal Government’s estimated procurement budget for the same year. This spending reflects a trend in recent years towards making more Federal dollars available for more assistance programs. The American Rescue Plan Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and even the CHIPS Act (to name a few), have created significant financial incentives for largely commercial entities to partner for the first time with the Federal Government. What marks a shift in policy are the primary partners the Federal Government is targeting for these funding opportunities: for-profit, commercial companies for providing broadband infrastructure or developing semiconductors domestically. These programs are geared towards incentivizing non-traditional grant recipients to take a bite at this ever-growing apple. From a business perspective, the trillions of dollars ripe for the taking seem too good an opportunity to pass up – but as we know from our experience in the procurement sector, doing business with the Federal Government is a different beast entirely from the commercial marketplace.Continue Reading Hot off the Presses: Sheppard Mullin Publishes its “Federal Grants Survival Guide” for Commercial, For-Profit Companies
It’s starting to feel like summer in Washington, DC and like most Washingtonians, the GSA and SBA are thinking about pools. So throw on some flip flops, grab a cold beverage, and let’s dive in to the 8(a) Multiple Award Schedule (“MAS”) Pool Initiative (and, obviously, prepare yourself for many, many more pool-themed puns).Continue Reading Let’s Go Swimming: Small Disadvantaged Business Growth Targeted by SBA and GSA 8(a) MAS Pool Initiative
A few months ago we wrote about Congress utilizing the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 to offer bonus tax credits to certain energy facilities for meeting specified “domestic content” requirements. Relying heavily on the Government’s prior experience with domestic content authorities, including the Federal Transit Authority’s (“FTA”) “Buy America” regulations, we discussed how the regulations, as written, left the renewable energy industry with more questions than answers on the applicability of the domestic content bonus tax credit to their current and future projects. Though we walked through our then-understanding of the regulations, including providing our own step-by-step analysis of how to comply with, and therefore receive, this domestic content bonus credit, we recognized that Treasury was in the process of issuing guidance that (we hoped) would shed more light on compliance obligations. After months of waiting, on May 12, 2023, Treasury, along with the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), released its long awaited Guidance (Notice 2023-38). In all fairness to Treasury, the Guidance does provide answers to many lingering questions. But, at the same time, the Guidance provides analysis that differs both from industry’s expectations and the FTA’s Buy America regulations in several significant respects – potentially opening a new can of compliance questions and concerns.Continue Reading Treasury Issues New Proposed Guidance on Domestic Content Requirements of the Inflation Reduction Act – Updated Qualification Analysis and (Still) Lingering Questions
For years, domestic content requirements have been a point of pain and frustration for government contractors. Historically, these regimes typically come in the form of the proverbial stick – that is, provide products and/or services that meet these country of origin requirements, or risk severe consequences (the billions in False Claims Act Trade Agreements Act settlements speak for themselves). But through the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, Congress has taken a unique approach by authorizing the Department of Treasury to use country of origin as a carrot – offering certain energy facilities bonus tax credits for meeting specified “domestic content” requirements. To create this new carrot, Congress relied heavily on the Government’s prior experience with domestic content regimes – pulling predominantly from the Federal Transit Authority’s (“FTA”) “Buy America” regulations, but with a Buy American Act twist. In doing so, Congress has left the renewable energy industry with more questions than answers on the applicability of the bonus tax credit to their facilities.Continue Reading Domestic Content Requirements of the Inflation Reduction Act: Basic Requirements, Qualification Analysis, and Lingering Questions
In an “update” that reads more like a teaser to a B Movie, the OMB on Friday advised that it will have more guidance on EO 14042 for us soon. What precipitated this official warning that more guidance would be forthcoming? Well, it seems that tomorrow (October 18, 2022) OMB expects the Southern District of Georgia to narrow the nationwide injunction prohibiting enforcement of EO 14042. This is the procedural step we’ve all been waiting for since the 11th Circuit issued its decision on August 26, 2022. In anticipation of the narrowed injunction, OMB announced it expects to release three new guidance documents in the near future:Continue Reading EO 14042 Update 17.0 – Preview of Updated OMB Guidance
With apologies to Jaws II, just when you thought it was safe, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has released a shark back into the EO 14042 waters.Continue Reading Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back In The Water . . . The 11th Circuit Revives Executive Order 14042
Updated as of May 24, 2022
The United States is engaging in a new form of warfare. Russia invaded Ukraine just over two months ago and, rather than join the fight directly by sending troops to defend Ukraine, the United States is fighting indirectly by engaging in unprecedented financial warfare against the Russian Federation. The initial export and sanctions actions were swift and severe – but somewhat expected. As the invasion persists, the U.S. Federal Government and individual States also have begun to leverage procurement policy to amplify the financial harm to Russia. This Guide will try to help make sense of the current efforts targeting Russia, the potential impact to government contractors, and proactive steps to mitigate risk.Continue Reading The Government Contractor’s Guide to (Not) Doing Business with Russia
On March 18, 2022, the Department of Defense (“DOD”) issued its long-awaited Final Rule implementing Section 818 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (“NDAA FY 2018”), and formally codifying defense contractors’ rights to post-award enhanced debriefings. Contractors have been bound by a Class Deviation implementing these requirements since March 2018, with DOD only issuing its proposed rule in May 2021. Though the Final Rule largely tracks the proposed rule, it does include several important clarifications, and, of course, directly impacts timeliness rules for filing post-award protests of DOD awards at the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”).
Continue Reading The Impact of DOD’s Enhanced Debriefings Rule on Bid Protest Timeliness
Software companies selling indirectly to the Federal Government finally received an answer to a question that has lingered for years – can a software company going to market through a reseller bring a direct claim under the Contract Disputes Act (“CDA”) against the Federal Government for violating a term of the software company’s End User License Agreement? Sadly, the answer is “no.”
Continue Reading Software Companies Beware: Board Holds Subcontractor Cannot Enforce EULA Directly Against Federal Government
Just when you didn’t think things could get any weirder, on Friday, January 21, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia issued a ruling clarifying its prior EO 14042 injunction (currently on appeal to the 11th Circuit, and discussed previously here) by refusing to clarify the injunction. Yes, you read that right. Let us explain.
Continue Reading Executive Order 14042 – Update 15.0: U.S. District Court “Clarifies” Its Injunction Applies Only To The Vaccine Mandate