House Bill Seeks to Prohibit PLAs
Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL), the Senior Deputy Majority Whip, has introduced a new bill called the “Fair and Open Competition Act” (H.R. 1552), which aims to reduce costs in construction contracts, specifically by prohibiting federal agencies from requiring contractors to sign project labor agreements (PLAs). The bill seeks to undo a 2009 executive order issued by President Barack Obama, which allowed agencies to use PLAs, when they felt appropriate, for construction projects of more than $25 million. A PLA is a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement with one or more labor organizations that establishes the terms and conditions of employment for a specific construction project. PLAs have long been a target of Republican lawmakers.
Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has introduced S.651, the “Contractor Accountability and Transparency Act of 2017,” which is described as “a bill to require the posting online of certain government contracts.” The text of the bill is not yet online, though it has been referred to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Though the text is not available, bipartisan good government groups have signed a letter supporting its passage.
Bipartisan Bill Seeks to Clarify Role of SBA Subcontractor Advocates
Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) and Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) have introduced H.R. 1597, the Commercial Market Representatives Clarification Act of 2017. According to a joint statement, the bill “will give a clear job description to Commercial Marketing Representatives at the Small Business Administration and help small businesses better compete for subcontracts.” “We must work to ensure Commercial Marketing Representatives (CMRs) require prime contractors comply with subcontracting requirements. All too often small businesses are unable to compete for subcontracts because they are not marketed by CMRs to prime contractors,” said Rep. Brat.
Nextgov looks at the “skinny” budget recommendations from President Donald Trump, and notes that it could mean the federal government is turning more toward using contractors. Analyst Matt Hummer of Govini told the publication that many technology services may be outsourced. “What we’re talking about is a massive transition in the way things are bought and provided,” he said.
Gen. Gustave Perna, commander of the Army Materiel Command, told an audience at a recent event that companies need to stop filing “unnecessary” protests “on autopilot,” according to Defense News. Perna argued that protests often slow down the process, and said the Army often “pads” schedules to accommodate for expected protests. The Army is “working hard” to “reduce the requirement for protest, we are taking that obligation on us,” he said.
A woman business owner from the Chicago suburbs has been sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison filing false paperwork to help a contractor claim it was fulfilling a requirement to assign a portion of work to a woman-owned enterprise. Elizabeth Perino was found guilty of claiming to have done work for a contractor in exchange for receiving payment equivalent to a percentage of what her company would have been paid if it did the work.