New Rule Expands Opportunities for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses

12.8.2009 - Posted in E&B Alerts - Government Contracts

Today, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued a final rule which provides increased contracting opportunities for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSB) and veteran-owned small businesses (VOSB). Pursuant to the new rule, VA contracting officers are authorized to restrict competition for specific contracts to SDVOSBs or VOSBs. Additionally, the rule provides the VA with increased authority in deciding SDVOSB and VOSB status protests.

Under the final rule, "[c]ontracting officers may use other than competitive procedures to enter into a contract with a SDVOSB or VOSB when the amount exceeds the micro-purchase threshold up to $5 million." The rule also provides for sole source contracting with SDVOSBs and VOSBs under certain conditions. By raising the threshold for other than competitive contracting to $5 million and providing for sole source contracting, the VA has increased the contracting opportunities available to these businesses and has loosened the regulations that may have hampered these contracts in the past.

The rule's modification to the procedure for status protests provides the VA with increased authority over SDVOSBs and VOSBs. Previously, the Small Business Administration (SBA) considered protests regarding the status of a SDVOSB/VOSB. Under this final rule, however, the VA and SBA will create a new interagency agreement governing these protests and share control over such protests. The interagency agreement has not yet been finalized. In the interim, the VA's Executive Director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization will consider SDVOSB and VOSB status protests. These changes only apply to VA contract and VA contract-related size protests. VA will accept comments on its amendment to the process by which status protests are handled through January 7, 2010.

A copy of the final rule is available here: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-28461.pdf. For additional information, please contact Jeff Eckland at [email protected] or (612) 236-0160.