Weekly Update for Government Contractors and Commercial Businesses - January 2021 #3

PilieroMazza PLLC

LITIGATION & DISPUTE RESOLUTION

DOJ Announces FY 2020 Fraud and FCA Recovery Statistics: What They Mean for 2021, January 20, 2021, Matt Feinberg and Camilla Hundley
The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it recovered more than $2.2 billion in settlements and judgments from civil cases involving fraud and the False Claims Act (FCA) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 (ending September 30, 2020). DOJ’s FY 2020 fraud and FCA recovery statistics report accompanied the announcement. With a global pandemic that often delayed proceedings, the $2.2 billion in recoveries was DOJ’s lowest haul since 2008. Although the announcement and report revealed a significant decline in recoveries relative to FY 2019, DOJ’s 2020 fraud and FCA statistics confirmed that the FCA remains an effective enforcement tool about which government contractors and companies that do business with government contractors should be wary in 2021 and beyond. Read more here.

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS

Top Bases for REAs and Claims Arising Under COVID-19, January 22, 2021, Peter Ford and Meghan Leemon
COVID-19 has increased costs for government contractors in almost every sector. Requests for Equitable Adjustment (REAs) and claims are available to contractors seeking compensation. But when should you submit an REA or claim? This post covers top bases for filing REAs or claims that government contractors should look for when facing cost increases due to COVID-19. Read more here.

The End of an Area: Planning Now for Potential Loss of HUBZone Status, January 19, 2021, Jon Williams and Anna Wright
2021 is an important year for the many HUBZone firms located in redesignated areas that will lose HUBZone status after December 31, 2021. For these firms, the time is now to plan for maintaining HUBZone status in 2022 and beyond. Read more here.

Executive Order on a Sustainable Public Health Supply Chain
President Biden signed an executive order outlining the management and organization of the federal response to COVID-19. Read more here.

President Biden Establishes Regulatory Freeze
Ronald Klain, Assistant to President Biden and Chief of Staff, issued a memorandum for the heads of executive departments and agencies regarding President Biden’s plan for managing the federal regulatory process. Specifically, the Biden Administration issued a regulatory freeze, which prevents agencies from issuing new rules until they are reviewed by a department or agency head appointed or designated by President Biden after noon on January 20, 2021. The regulatory freeze also applies to rules that have been published in the Federal Register but have not yet taken effect, and the memorandum recommends that agencies extend effective dates by 60 days to allow for review. Read more here.

CIO-SP4 Request for Proposals Expected in Early February
Bloomberg Government reported that the Department of Health and Human Services plans to issue a request for proposals for the 10-year Chief Information Officer – Solutions and Partners 4 (CIO-SP4) contract in early February. Read more here.

DOD Launches Online Marketplace to Pair Small Firms with ‘Trusted’ Investors
Federal News Network reported that the Department of Defense (DOD) expanded its “trusted capital” program—which seeks to pair DOD-vetted capital providers with small- and medium-sized companies who are working on dual-use or military technologies—to a wider pool of investors and vendors via an online marketplace. The DOD is seeking more applicants, and this initiative seeks to protect the small- and medium-sized companies from adversarial capital—investment funds that exist to take an ownership stake in a U.S. company’s intellectual property and then transfer it to China or other foreign adversaries. Read more here.

SBA Proposes to Eliminate Regulations that Exclude Faith-Based Organizations
The Small Business Administration (SBA) published a proposed rule to remove five regulatory provisions that SBA maintains conflict with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. All five provisions make certain faith-based organizations ineligible to participate in certain SBA business loan and disaster assistance programs because of their religious status. Comments are due by February 18, 2021. Read more here. Read SBA’s related press release here.

Final Rule Increases Buy American Requirements
DOD, the General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration issued a final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation to implement an executive order addressing domestic preferences in government procurement. The rule went into effect on January 21, 2021. Read more here. Read the related summary presentation here and the related small entity compliance guide here.

DOD Releases Final Rule Adopting NDAA Fiscal Year 2018 Section 889(a)(1)(A)
DOD published a final rule to implement parts of Section 889(a)(1)(A) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018. The rule prohibits the use of telecommunications equipment or services from certain Chinese entities and from any other entities that the Secretary of Defense reasonably believes to be owned or controlled by, or otherwise connected to, the Chinese or Russian governments as a substantial or essential component of any system or as a critical technology as a part of any system. The rule went into effect January 15, 2021. Read more here.

Upcoming Government Contracts Presentations

WEBINAR: COVID-19 Relief in 2021: What Small Businesses Need to Know, February 2, 2021, Cy AlbaNichole Atallah, and Kathryn Hickey. Read more here.

WEBINAR: The 2021 Qui Tam Conference – Small Business and Grant Fraud Panel, February 18, 2021, Jon Williams. Read more here.

WEBINAR: May the Clause Be with You: FAR 52.203-16, Organizational and Personal Conflicts of Interest, February 23, 2021, Cy Alba. Read more here.

WEBINAR: Risk Prevention Strategies: Avoiding Costly FLSA Missteps, February 24, 2021, Nichole Atallah and Matt Feinberg. Read more here.

LABOR & EMPLOYMENT

Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government
President Biden revoked an executive order that limited the ability of federal agencies and contractors to conduct diversity training. He also directed all federal agencies to select certain programs for review and to assess and report on whether underserved communities and their members face systemic barriers to accessing benefits and opportunities available under those programs. Read more here.

Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety
President Biden signed an executive order that directs the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue updated guidance on COVID-19 worker protections. Read more here.

Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation
President Biden signed a new executive order that prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. Read more here.

EEOC Caps Fiscal Year with $535 Million Returned to Bias Victims
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recovered a record $535.4 million for victims of workplace discrimination in FY 2020, according to an annual performance report. Read more here.

Upcoming Labor & Employment Presentations

WEBINAR: May the Clause Be with You: FAR 52.222-2, Payment for Overtime Premiums, February 9, 2021, Nichole Atallah. Read more here.

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