In a recent interview with Federal News Radio, Rob Burton, a thirty-year veteran of federal procurement law and policy and a partner in Venable’s Government Contracts Practice Group, discussed the recent upward trend in suspension and debarment actions caused by a recent push by Congress and others to increase enforcement. The radio interview can be downloaded by clicking here. It is important that companies doing business with the government be aware of these trends, their potential impact, and the resources Venable offers to quickly resolve these actions and minimize the impact on contractors.
The Increase in Debarments and the New Ineligibility Laws
According to the Interagency Suspension and Debarment Committee, the number of suspensions increased by nearly 200 from 2009 to 2010, and the number of debarments increased by 150, an approximately 10 percent increase, over the same period. Though it is important to note that not all agencies use the same method for calculating these numbers, the overall trend is absolutely toward greater use of suspension and debarment. In fact, many in Congress and even some agency officials believe that suspension and debarment should be employed as a way to punish contractors who are not responsible, even though regulations explicitly provide that these actions should be used only to protect the interests of the government, not to punish contractors. See, e.g., 48 C.F.R. § 9.402(b).
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