2020 Federal Contracts: A Busy Year for New Regulations and Initiatives

By Hollie Kapos, Corporate Counsel

With all that happened in 2020, it was easy to miss some of the new regulations and initiatives impacting government contractors. This blog summarizes the key updates immixGroup has been tracking that are particularly relevant to commercial item contracting.

January-Current

GSA MAS Consolidation. Twenty-four former GSA Schedules, each for different supplies and services, were consolidated into a single schedule. We started the year in Phase II of the GSA MAS Consolidation, which was the process of updating terms and conditions to reflect the new solicitation. Phase II was completed in July, with 99% of contractors signing the mass modification. Under Phase III, which began in August, multiple vendor contracts will be consolidated into single contracts.

June

Commercial e-Commerce Platforms. Under Section 846 of the FY2018 NDAA, Congress instructed GSA to “establish a program to procure commercial products through commercial e-commerce portals for purposes of enhancing competition, expediting procurement, enabling market research and ensuring reasonable pricing of commercial products.” To implement this initiative, GSA awarded no-cost, proof-of-concept contracts to Amazon Business, Fisher Scientific, and Overstock.com, Inc., which will allow specific agencies to make purchases below the micro-purchase threshold ($10K) using government purchase cards. GSA will collect spend data and analyze trends to assess, refine and grow the program.

July

Verified Products Portal (VPP). GSA released an RFI regarding their catalog management processes and product data details, kicking off VPP implementation. The VPP is intended to host authoritative product content such as standardized manufacturer names and part numbers with the aim of improving GSA’s supply chain risk management and modernizing the customer experience. Read immixGroup GSA Programs Consultant Tara Franzonello’s blog to learn more about VPP and why you should care.

August

Unpriced Schedules. GSA issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Section 876 of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (Pub. L. 115-232), which allows GSA to implement “unpriced schedules.” immixGroup’s Division Counsel Jeff Ellinport explains Section 876 and how it benefits government contractors in his latest article for Washington Technology.

Section 889(a)(1)(B) of the 2019 NDAA. Since August 13, 2019, Section 889(a)(1)(A) of the 2019 NDAA has prohibited executive agencies from purchasing certain video surveillance products or telecommunications equipment and services produced or provided by Huawei Technologies Company, ZTE Corporation, Hytera Communications Corporation, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company or Dahua Technology Company (or their subsidiaries or affiliates).

On August 13, 2020, this ban was extended by Section 889(a)(1)(B), which prohibits executive agencies from contracting with an entity that uses these covered telecommunications equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system, unless an exception applies or a waiver is granted. To learn more, watch our on-demand video from the Arrow Technology Summit: Recent Cybersecurity Regulations Impacting the U.S. Government’s Supply Chain.

September-November

CMMC Interim Rule. DOD published an Interim Rule on September 29, 2020 that went into effect on November 30, 2020, which implements the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification framework (CMMC) and included two new DFARS clauses requiring contractors and their subcontractors to submit assessments of their NIST 800-171 compliance to DOD. Learn more about CMMC and the NIST 800-171 assessment requirements in my last blog and our on-demand video from the Arrow Technology Summit: Recent Cybersecurity Regulations Impacting the U.S. Government’s Supply Chain.

Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping. On September 22, 2020, President Trump issued an Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from conducting “workplace training that inculcates in its employees any form of race or sex stereotyping or any form of race or sex scapegoating.” The EO includes a contract provision to be included in federal prime contracts entered on or after November 21, 2020, with a mandatory flow down to subcontractors. However, while some agencies begin to issue class deviations to incorporate the EO, many observers expect it will be rescinded when President-Elect Joe Biden takes office in January.

Conclusion

immixGroup will continue following these new regulations and initiatives into 2021. Look out for updates and keep up with the latest in government contracting trends by subscribing to our Government Sales Insider blog.

Learn more about immixGroup and how we help our OEMs and channel partners by visiting our Federal Contracts webpage.

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