Republicans in the House and Senate issued a joint resolution of disapproval yesterday to block President Barack Obama’s “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” executive order, which required federal contractors bidding on contracts valued over $500,000 to report any labor law violations in the last three years. The rule enforcing the order had been blocked by a judge at the end of 2016, and contractors have often spoken out against the rule, calling it a “blacklisting rule.” The resolution was filed under the Congressional Review Act, which gives lawmakers 60 legislative days to repeal a rue after it’s finalized.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order yesterday known colloquially as the “1 in, 2 out” rule, meaning agencies had to revoke two regulations for every new one they wanted to put in place. According to The Hill, “Starting in 2018, the order calls on the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget to give each agency a budget for how much it can increase regulatory costs or cut regulatory costs.” The rule does make exceptions for emergency cases.
The State of New Mexico’s Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) and its Program Evaluation Unit has raised questions about state organizations’ contracts that are awarded without competitive bidding. The committee especially highlighted charter schools, which spent millions on non-competitive contracts. According to the LFC, nearly half of the state’s charter schools of keeping outdated purchase orders or not getting competitive bids for large purchases.
Peter Smith of Public Spend Forum Europe looks at a case of when major UK contractor Serco raised concerns that it was taking on too much risk in a contract. The contract involved accommodating asylum seekers, and as Smith writes, “The basic principle for risk allocation is that responsibility (contractual and operational) is generally given to the party who can best control the risk. So, in this case, with the obvious volume risk affecting the prospective costs for the bidders significantly, it was clearly logical that the buyer (the government) took that risk. The provider had no control or even influence over that factor, the UK government did, so we would have expected to see a commercial model that worked on some sort of cost-per-person per time period, perhaps with a fixed-cost element as well.” Available with free registration.
The Department of Energy (DOE) issued a stay of a proposed rule regarding “civil penalties against certain contractors and subcontractors for violations of the prohibition against an employee who reports violations of law, mismanagement, waste, abuse or dangerous/unsafe workplace conditions, among other protected activities, concerning nuclear safety.” The stay of the whistleblower rule lasts until March 21, 2017.
Former Office of Federal Procurement Policy Administrator Deidre Lee, the current chair of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Section 809 Acquisition Advisory Panel, talked with the Coalition of for Government Procurement’s Roger Waldron about the panel’s progress, and how it’s tackling its charter. The panel was created to review DoD acquisition regulations and determine which should be kept, which should be adjusted and which should be removed. Lee discusses the panel’s areas of focus, and how it’s broken into six separate working groups to focus on specific topics.