Though President Donald Trump is likely to vote to repeal the “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” rule—the regulation that would require contractors to report labor law violations of the past three years—GovExec reports that the battle over safe workplaces isn’t over. It notes that the “tiny agency,” the independent Chemical Safety Board voted 4-0 on March 1 “to declare ‘unacceptable’ the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council’s response to a request for stronger reviews of potential contractors’ workplace safety programs.” The Chemical Safety Board said it needs a language that would “specifically require the review of a prospective contractor’s environmental and safety programs; safety record and incident history.”
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a new report, finding that the federal government opens “a greater percentage of its government procurement to foreign competition than the next five largest trade agreement partners combined. The report also noted that the U.S. participates with 57 other countries in trade agreements that allow foreign firms to compete for U.S. government business. The report does note, however, that data regarding this issue is not always timely and accurate.
Subcontractor Whistleblower Pilot Program to Become Permanent
Marie Mak, director of acquisition and sourcing management for the Government Accountability Office (GAO), talked with Federal News Radio about the whistleblower pilot program for subcontractors and grant recipients. Mak talked about how the pilot program required agencies to ensure they had point people to report whistleblower claims, and informed subcontractors as to their whistleblower rights and procedures. The pilot is now scheduled to become permanent.
Colorado State Rep. Bob Rankin has introduced a bill to reform the state’s procurement process. The House has approved the bill, which would modernize the state’s procurement code for the first time in 30 years, according to a column written by the lawmaker.
The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP)—the cloud solution security baseline program—has extended the public comment period for the proposed software-as-a-service (SaaS) cloud baseline from March 13 to April 24. The new baseline is for “low risk” SaaS solutions, and was announced last month.
Charles River Laboratories International Inc. has agreed to pay $1.8 million to settle claims that it violated the False Claims Act when it charged the National Institutes of Health for labor and other associated costs that were not actually provided on those contracts. The contracts were for the development and maintenance of animal colonies, but Charles River allegedly charged NIH for facilities not providing services to the agency.