Just in time for the season of new backpacks, lunch boxes, and school supplies, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has assigned some homework to contractors looking to participate in Federal financial assistance programs for infrastructure. Consistent with its Build America, Buy America Act (BABA) mandates, on August 23, 2023, OMB published a Final Rule revising its Guidance for Grants and Agreements to implement BABA (Final Rule). This Final Rule follows the Proposed Rule of February 9, 2023 (Proposed Rule), which we previously discussed, in which OMB proposed creating a new part 184 in 2 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), and revising 2 CFR 200.322, Domestic preferences for procurements, to implement the requirements in Section 70914 of BABA. With the guidance becoming effective October 23, 2023, contractors should not put off studying these requirements if they want to be prepared for the BABA tests that will undoubtedly come as agencies begin to implement this guidance.Continue Reading Back to School: Time to Study the OMB Final Rule Implementing BABA
On June 2, 2023, the FAR Council issued an Interim Rule to implement the prohibition on having or using TikTok or any successor application or service developed or provided by ByteDance Limited (covered application). Importantly, the prohibition applies not only to Government-issued devices but encompasses contractor and contractor employee-owned devices (e.g., employee devices used as part of a bring-your-own-device program) as well. The Interim Rule took immediate effect and requires new FAR clause FAR 52.204-27, Prohibition on a ByteDance Covered Application, to be included in solicitations issued on or after June 2, 2023. In addition, solicitations issued before the effective date were required to be amended by July 3, 2023, provided that award of the resulting contract(s) occurs on or after the effective date. Existing indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts were required to be modified to include the new clause by July 3, 2023, to apply to future orders. Finally, if exercising an option or modifying an existing contract to extend the period of performance, contracting officers must include the clause. In short, this clause will soon be in most if not all Federal government contracts. Contractors should take action now to ensure that they are prepared to comply with these requirements and that employees are familiar with and trained regarding the prohibition.Continue Reading TikTok Dances Off of Contractor IT Devices—Interim Rule Prohibits ByteDance Limited Applications
Approximately 15 months ago, on November 15, 2021, President Biden signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), commonly known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The IIJA is one of the Biden administration’s signature legislative achievements to date and provides $1.2 trillion in funding for a broad range of infrastructure projects. A key part of the IIJA is the Build America, Buy America (BABA) Act, which requires that the head of each covered federal agency ensure that “none of the federal funds made available for a Federal financial assistance program for infrastructure may be obligated for a project unless all of the iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in the project are produced in the United States.” BABA Act at § 70914. The BABA Act required agencies to implement these requirements by May 14, 2022; however, as that deadline came and went, contractors eagerly awaiting opportunities to build the nation’s infrastructure were left wondering how (and when) these requirements would be applied to affected projects.Continue Reading (No Longer) Building a Mystery—Biden Administration Issues Long-Awaited Guidance Implementing BABA Requirements for Infrastructure Projects
Last year, the Build America, Buy America Act left contractors scrambling to understand how its requirements would be imposed on a wide variety of infrastructure projects. Cara Wulf provides clarity to contractors on agencies’ evolving guidance.
*As appeared in The Government Contractor, article PDF provided in link.
In 2006, the documentary An Inconvenient Truth chronicled former Vice President Al Gore’s efforts to educate the public on the consequences of climate change. In the sixteen years since the Academy Award-winning film was released, public interest in the impact that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have had, are having, and will have on our planet has increased exponentially. Most recently, at the 27th U.N. Climate Conference (COP27), countries from around the globe came together to discuss the implementation of battle plans to combat climate change. One such plan, which was discussed at COP 27 by President Biden, is a new Proposed Rule that would require “significant” and “major” federal contractors to disclose their GHG emissions and climate-related financial risk as well as set science-based targets to reduce their GHG emissions. If and when the Proposed Rule is finalized, it will have seismic implications for contractors, in that it ties contractor responsibility (i.e., a contractor’s ability to receive federal awards) to compliance with these requirements.
Continue Reading An Inconvenient Requirement: New Proposed Rule Would Require Federal Contractors to Disclose Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Act Seeks to Cut Strings Between U.S. Small Businesses and China, Russia, and Other Countries of Concern
Small businesses that rely on the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs to fund their research and development projects were left on the edge of their seats this September as the reauthorization of those programs hung in the balance. Fortunately, on September 30, 2022—the date on which the programs were set to expire—President Biden signed the SBIR and STTR Extension Act of 2022 (the Act). The Act, which reauthorizes the SBIR and STTR programs until September 30, 2025, is the result of several months of protracted negotiations in which Congress questioned whether the programs provide enough protection against ties between China and other foreign countries of concern and program awardees. These concerns were amplified following reports that state-sponsored Chinese firms were targeting companies funded by the programs and, in some cases, that China was the true beneficiary of the awards, not the United States. This prompted intense scrutiny of the programs, which are intended to fund US startups and small businesses to stimulate technological innovation and meet federal research and development needs, and placed the reauthorization of these programs in jeopardy. Ultimately, however, Congress was able to reach an agreement to reauthorize the programs, but not without some major national security reforms to ensure that American intellectual property remains protected from foreign influence.Continue Reading SBIR/STTR Extension Act Preserves Innovation Programs, But Comes With a Bite
McCarter partner Cara Wulf has authored an article which appeared in Law360 under the title “Cos. Should Prepare for Gov’t Grantee IP Reporting Update”. The article discusses the updated IP reporting system (iEdison) the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will be launching this month and outlines several steps recipients of federal funding should…
The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council has returned from an extended vacation to publish a final rule to align the FAR with similar subcontracting regulations implemented by the Small Business Administration more than a half decade ago. McCarter & English Government Contracts and Global Trade co-leaders Franklin Turner and Alex Major and Senior Associates Cara…
A major pillar of President Biden’s campaign was strengthening the Buy American requirements in procurement law, promising both before and after the election that “[n]o government contracts will be given to companies that don’t make their products here in America.” Five days into office, the President issued an Executive Order designed to bring that promise closer to fruition. As we wrote here, the January 25, 2021 Executive Order directed both dramatic changes to domestic preference regulations and increased enforcement of existing requirements through a variety of means. Now, seven months later, amendments to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) are being proposed by the Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration—collectively, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council—to implement, at least in part, President Biden’s Executive Order (Proposed Rule).
Continue Reading Enhanced Buy American Requirements Coming Soon; Proposed Rule Foretells Big Changes
After 15 months of quarantines, restrictions, and mandatory home schooling, summer 2021 is luring with escape and excitement across the country. We all hope for beach days and reunions with loved ones as we (hopefully) paddle toward normalcy once again. However, before setting up the “out-of-office” auto-replies and heading for the sand and surf, Government contractors interested in the implications of the Biden Administration’s January 25, 2021 Executive Order on Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America’s Workers (EO) will want to take note of a June 11, 2021 Memorandum from the Office of Management and Budget on Increasing Opportunities for Domestic Sourcing and Reducing the Need for Waivers from Made in America Laws (Memorandum). This Memorandum outlines the wave of changes the Made In America Office (MIAO) is poised to make over the summer of 2021 as it begins to implement the mandates of the EO.
Continue Reading Catching Waves: OMB Issues New Implementation Guidance for Biden Administration Buy American Executive Order