Weekly Update for Government Contractors and Commercial Businesses – June 2021 #2

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PilieroMazza Partner Jon Williams Testifies at Congressional Hearing on CMMC, June 24, 2021
PilieroMazza is pleased to announce that Jon Williams, a Partner on the Firm’s Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Team and Chair of the Government Contracts Group, testified at a hearing on June 24, 2021, at 10:00 AM ET before the Congressional Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Regulations. The hearing—which focused on matters concerning Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC)—was entitled “CMMC Implementation: What It Means for Small Businesses.” A recording of the hearing is available here, and a copy of Jon’s testimony is available here. Read more here.

New CIO-SP4 Modification – An Undue Restriction on Competition and a Violation of SBA Regulations? June 23, 2021, Cy Alba and Meghan Leemon
On June 22, 2021, the National Institutes of Health Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC) issued its third modification to the Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners 4 (CIO-SP4) Request for Proposals (RFP). Among other things, NITAAC made significant changes to how subcontractors and mentors in Small Business Administration (SBA) approved mentor-protégé programs are treated for purposes of the evaluation. The RFP appears to disallow the use of any subcontractor experience, past performance, or other qualifications, including from small businesses, and it severely limits the use of mentor experience. This 180-degree turn from the latest version of the RFP will impact small businesses seeking to use subcontractors and SBA-approved mentors when submitting their proposals. Read more here.

Partner Todd M. Reinecker Joins PilieroMazza’s Growing Litigation Team, June 9, 2021
PilieroMazza is pleased to announce that Todd M. Reinecker joined the Firm as a Partner in its growing Litigation & Dispute Resolution Group. Read more here.

WEBINAR: Risk Prevention Strategies: Legal Considerations in Crisis Management – Planning, Mitigation, and Recovery, July 28, 2021, Matt Feinberg and Megan Benevento. Read more here.

LABOR & EMPLOYMENT

OSHA Issues Emergency Temporary Standard to Protect Healthcare Workers from COVID-19
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced it will issue an emergency temporary standard to protect healthcare workers from contracting COVID-19. The standard focuses on healthcare workers most likely to have contact with someone infected with the virus. OSHA announced the new standard alongside new general industry guidance, which aligns with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. Read more here.

Plans to Revive OSHA’s Stalled Infectious Disease Rulemaking
Bloomberg Government reported that the Biden Administration plans to revive a stalled occupational safety rulemaking that would protect workers against all airborne infectious diseases. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) intends to offer a draft version of an infectious disease rule in Fiscal Year 2022 and seek public comment. If enacted, the rule could require employers to protect workers from hazards such as tuberculosis, drug-resistant staph bacterial infections, and severe acute viral respiratory infections, according to OSHA’s summary of the rulemaking.

Safer Federal Workforce Task Force Guidance
The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force—led by the White House COVID-19 Response Team, General Services Administration, and the Office of Personnel Management—published a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) stating that, while the Biden-Harris Administration strongly encourages all Americans to be vaccinated against COVID-19, vaccines “should generally not be a pre-condition” for employees or contractors at executive departments and agencies to work in-person in Federal buildings, on Federal lands, and in other settings as required by their job duties. The FAQ noted that federal employees and contractors may voluntarily share information about their vaccination status, but agencies should not require the disclosure of such information. If an employee or contractor voluntarily discloses that they are unvaccinated or declines to provide vaccination information, agencies should implement Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended mitigation measures, including masking and physical distancing. Read more here.

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS

DOD, GSA, and NASA Issue Proposed Rule to Update the HUBZone Program in the FAR, June 22, 2021, Jon Williams
The Small Business Administration (SBA) updated its Historically Underutilized Business (HUBZone) program in a final rule issued on November 26, 2019, at 84 FR 65,222. The Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have issued a proposed rule seeking to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to correspond with the updates made by the SBA. The proposed changes to the FAR include: updating the small business concern definition, adding in status protest procedures for sole-source procurements and joint ventures, changing eligibility requirements for HUBZone concerns at the time of submitting their offer, and requiring Contracting Officers to consider HUBZone concerns for sole-source awards regardless if the contract is above or below the simplified acquisition threshold. Read more here.

Biden Announces 50 Percent Increase in Small Disadvantaged Business Contracting Goals: Key Details for Government Contractors, June 21, 2021, Christine Fries
On June 1, 2021, President Biden marked the 100-year anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre by announcing the Biden-Harris Administration’s plan to increase small disadvantaged business (SDB) contracting goals by fifty percent. The White House also released new information regarding President Biden’s American Jobs Plan. Below are key details on the new SDB contracting goals for government contractors. Read more here.

100-Day Review Outlines Steps to Strengthen Critical Supply Chains
The Biden-Harris Administration announced key findings from the reviews directed under Executive Order 14017 “America’s Supply Chains,” as well as immediate actions the Administration will take to strengthen American supply chains to promote economic security, national security, and good-paying, union jobs in the U.S. Read more here.

OMB, OPM, and GSA Plan for a Safe Increased Return of Federal Employees and Contractors to Physical Workplaces
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and General Services Administration (GSA) published a memorandum that provides executive departments and agencies with guidance for planning processes related to the return of federal employees and contractors to the physical workplace. Read more here.

Increasing Opportunities for Domestic Sourcing and Reducing the Need for Waivers from Made in America Laws
The Office of Management and Budget released a memorandum that provides guidance to agencies for implementing President Biden’s “Made in America” Executive Order. Read more here.

Calls for Whole-of-Government Effort to Improve Critical Supply Chains
Federal News Network reported that the Department of Defense plans to invest $1 billion over the next five years to strengthen its stockpile of critical materials, including rare earth minerals. Read more here.

GSA Awards the 8(a) STARS III GWAC
The General Services Administration (GSA) announced that it has awarded the first phase of the 8(a) STARS III Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC). The 8(a) STARS GWACs are known governmentwide as best-in-class, easy-to-use, streamlined procurement solutions to purchase information technology services from 8(a) prime contractors. The fourth-generation GWAC includes a greater focus on emerging technologies as well as performance outside of the continental United States. The STARS III contract has a ceiling of $50 billion. Read more here.

Spring 2021 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions
The White House published its first regulatory agenda, which aims to advance some of the Biden Administration’s top goals, including addressing the climate crisis, promoting greater racial and social equity and helping small businesses. Read more here.

GSA Set to Alter Cloud-Buying Landscape
Federal News Network reported that the General Services Administration (GSA) released its second draft policy via acquisition letter to the GSA acquisition workforce, which details special ordering procedures for buying commercial cloud computing services under the Federal Supply Schedule program. The second draft policy would permit agencies to buy cloud services on a consumption basis through a schedule contract and outlines how this buying approach would work. Read more here.

GSA Announces NIST’s OSCAL 1.0.0 Release
The General Services Administration (GSA) announced that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released version 1.0.0 of the Open Security Controls Assessment Language (OSCAL). The FedRAMP Program Management Office, in collaboration with NIST, is working to standardize authorization packages and streamline their review with OSCAL, a common machine-readable language. This first official release of OSCAL provides a stable OSCAL 1.0.0 for wide-scale implementation. Read more here.

DOD Deputy Secretary Pursuing Workarounds to Fast-Track Military Tech Acquisitions
FedScoop reported that the Department of Defense (DOD) Deputy Secretary of Defense, Kathleen Hicks, is working to find creative solutions to acquisition regulations in order to speed up the military’s technology buying cycles. Specifically, FedScoop reported that Deputy Secretary Hicks said that alternative contract structures could fast-track the acquisition process, help support innovation from smaller companies, and that she is considering options, including the expansion of adaptive acquisition pathways, and redefining what is categorized as a “new start” program. Read more here.

First CMMC Assessment Organization Approved
Federal Computer Week reported that the accrediting body overseeing the Department of Defense’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) program announced that RedSpin met requirements for Certified Third-Party Assessment Organizations (C3PAO) and passed the CMMC Level 3 assessment administered by the Defense Industrial Base Cybersecurity Assessment Center. Read more here.

Application of Micro-Purchase Threshold to Task and Delivery Orders
The Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration published a final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation to implement a section of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 that raises the threshold for fair opportunity on certain task and delivery orders to the micro-purchase threshold. The rule becomes effective July 12, 2021. Read more here.

Analysis for Equipment Acquisitions
The Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration published a final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation to implement a section of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, which requires, when acquiring equipment, a case-by-case analysis of cost and other factors associated with certain methods of acquisition, including purchase, short-term rental or lease, long-term rental or lease, interagency acquisition, and, if applicable, acquisition agreements with a state or local government. The rule becomes effective July 12, 2021. Read more here.

Upcoming Government Contracts Presentations

WEBINAR: Past Performance: How to Use Yours, Benefit from Others’, and Defend It from Attacks, June 30, 2021, Sam Finnerty. Read more here.

WEBINAR: Joint Venture and Mentor-Protégé Bidding Strategies, July 1, 2021, Peter Ford and Meghan Leemon. Read more here.

WEBINAR: Getting into GSA Schedule Contracting, July 12, 2021, Cy Alba and Anna Wright. Read more here.

WEBINAR: Teaming Secrets of Successful Government Contractors, July 14, 2021, Kathryn Hickey and Katherine Burrows. Read more here.

WEBINAR: Latest Developments with the HUBZone Program, July 21, 2021, Jon Williams. Read more here.

WEBINAR: Cybersecurity and 889 Compliance in 2021: What Government Contractors Need to Know, July 26, 2021, Cy Alba and David Shafer. Read more here.

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