Summary: H.R.1670 — 104th Congress (1995-1996)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (09/14/1995)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Title I: Competition

Title II: Commercial Items

Title III: Additional Reform Provisions

Title IV: Streamlining of Dispute Resolution

Subtitle A: General Provisions

Subtitle B: Establishment of Civilian and Defense

Boards of Contract Appeals

Subtitle C: Functions of Defense and Civilian Boards of

Contract Appeals

Subtitle D: Repeal of Other Statutes Authorizing

Administrative Protests

Subtitle E: Transfers and Transitional, Savings, and

Conforming Provisions

Subtitle F: Effective Date; Regulations and Appointment

of Chairmen

Title V: Effective Dates and Implementation

Federal Acquisition Reform Act of 1995 - Title I: Competition - Amends the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 (FPASA), the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act (OFPPA), and other Federal law to revise the standard for full and open competition for procurement of goods and services to provide for open access to bidding consistent with the need to efficiently fulfill the armed forces' and executive agencies' needs. Requires the use of sealed bids or competitive proposals.

(Sec. 101) Revises requirements for the use of other than competitive procedures to allow them only when use of competitive procedures is not feasible or appropriate, for which standards shall be set forth in the Federal Acquisitions Regulation (FAR). Requires the FAR to provide for justification and approval of sole source procurements under standards that set forth limited circumstances, including specified current standards.

Mandates the creation of simplified procedures for procurements valued below a certain amount ("simplified acquisition threshold"). Amends OFPPA to revise public notice requirements for all Government contracts valued between $10,000 and $25,000 as well as those valued at over $25,000. Requires such notice to state whether the acquisition is to be conducted pursuant to a contractor verification system, or whether the offeror, its product, or its service otherwise must meet certain eligibility requirements.

(Sec. 104) Entitles an excluded offeror, who has submitted a competitive proposal, to request in writing and receive from the contracting officer a debriefing about the offer's merits prior to award unless it is not in the Government's best interests to conduct a debriefing at that time.

(Sec. 105) Repeals the small business set-aside requirements with respect to the award of architectural and engineering contracts for military construction, family housing project, or other Department of Defense (DOD) or military department purposes. Subjects such awards to the Brooks Architect-Engineers Act.

(Sec. 106) Requires the creation of a contractor verification system of competitive procedures to verify the eligibility of contractors according to certain criteria to compete for contracts furnishing property or services on a recurring basis. Requires that all interested sources have a fair opportunity to be considered for verification.

(Sec. 107) Mandates the use of specified two-phase selection procedures, except in certain circumstances, in armed forces and civilian agency acquisitions.

Title II: Commercial Items - Amends Federal law with respect to exceptions to the requirement that certain offerors, contractors, and subcontractors submit cost or pricing data. Specifies that such submissions shall not be required for the acquisition of a commercial item (currently, any contract for which the price agreed upon is based on established catalog or market prices of commercial items sold in substantial quantities to the general public).

(Sec. 201) Limits the collection of information used to determine the fairness of a price by eliminating the Government's authority to: (1) audit books and records related to cost and pricing; and (2) demand data other than certified cost or pricing data. Repeals the requirement that cost and pricing data be sought from the offeror, contractor, or other sources when competition is not practicable.

(Sec. 202) Requires the FAR to provide for special simplified procedures for the purchase of commercial items. Prohibits the procurement from a single source of commercial items valued above the simplified acquisition threshold unless a written justification is approved.

(Sec. 204) Repeals the requirement that mandatory cost accounting methods be used in Federal acquisition of commercial goods.

Title III: Additional Reform Provisions - Eliminates certain certification requirements for Government suppliers, and prohibits future creation of such certification requirements unless: (1) specifically imposed by statute; or (2) approved by either the Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy (Administrator) or the head of an executive agency.

(Sec. 303) Permits testing of alternative and innovative procurement policies for four years.

(Sec. 304) Repeals mandatory charges for research, development, and production costs of U.S. defense products sold abroad provided that lost funds are offset by legislated cuts in the President's budget.

(Sec. 305) Establishes civil and criminal penalties for unauthorized disclosures or acquisitions of bid, proposal, or source selection information regarding a Government procurement.

Eliminates: (1) anti-bribery provisions; (2) requirements for reports by defense contractors; (3) restrictions on private employment of former Federal employees by private entities to assist in obtaining Government contracts; and (4) criminal penalties imposed upon retired military officers who within two years after release from active duty receive compensation for representation in the sale of anything to the United States through the military department in which the officer is retired.

(Sec. 306) Eliminates the requirement that the Office of Federal Procurement Policy report to the Congress annually and before the effective date of any policy or regulation. Repeals associated data collection requirements.

(Sec. 307) Requires the Secretary of Defense (DOD Secretary) to include in his or her annual report to Congress a justification for continuing any acquisition program that fails to meet certain percentages of specified goals.

(Sec. 308) Specifies incentives the DOD Secretary and the Deputy Director for Management of the Office of Management and Budget are to use in promoting acquisition program goals.

(Sec. 309) Directs the DOD Secretary to ensure that DOD regulations compress the time needed to develop and procure new systems.

(Sec. 310) Directs the Administrator to establish a goal of a 50 percent reduction in executive agency procurement.

(Sec. 311) Amends the FPASA and other Federal law to require multiyear contracting.

(Sec. 312) Requires the FAR to permit: (1) rewarding a Government contractor for exceeding the contract cost, schedule, or performance parameters to the benefit of the United States; or (2) penalizing the contractor for failing to adhere to such parameters to the detriment of the United States.

(Sec. 313) Amends Federal law to require the Secretary to submit a report before every phase of an acquisition program detailing that phase's goals and budgetary needs before the Congress makes funding available.

(Sec. 314) Directs the Comptroller General to: (1) review commercial practices regarding accounts payable and develop standards for the DOD Secretary to consider using to improve DOD contract payment procedures and financial management systems; and (2) report to the Congress on the effectiveness of such procedures and systems.

(Sec. 315) Amends Federal law to require that DOD policies and procedures provide that education and training in acquisition and past performance of acquisition responsibilities are major factors in the selection of personnel for acquisition positions.

(Sec. 316) Authorizes the Secretary to: (1) implement a defense facility-wide pilot program to determine the potential for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the acquisition process in certain facilities; and (2) exempt related contracts or subcontracts from specified cost or pricing data and mandatory cost accounting standards requirements.

(Sec. 317) Amends the OFPPA to require executive agencies to establish value engineering procedures and processes for certain programs.

(Sec. 318) Directs the head of each executive agency, under the direction of the Administrator, to establish policies and procedures (including accession, education, training, career development, and performance incentives requirements) to effectively manage and promote a professional acquisition work force.

(Sec. 319) Provides for: (1) a DOD demonstration project to test certain proposals for improving DOD personnel management of its acquisition workforce; and (2) a delay in opening certain Federal supply schedules to use by State, local, and Indian tribal governments.

Title IV: Streamlining of Dispute Resolution - Subtitle A: General Provisions - Amends the OFPPA to set forth the definitions of various terms used in this title.

Subtitle B: Establishment of Civilian and Defense Boards of Contract Appeals - Replaces the various Federal boards of contract appeals with a Department of Defense Board of Contract Appeals and, in the General Services Administration, a Civilian Board of Contract Appeals ("Boards"). Authorizes appropriations.

Subtitle C: Functions of Defense and Civilian Boards of Contract Appeals - Requires the Boards to provide informal voluntary alternative dispute resolution services upon request of all parties in conflict over specific granted or prospective government procurement contracts.

(Sec. 423) Grants jurisdiction to the Boards to resolve specific contract disputes.

(Sec. 424) Requires the Boards to review, upon a timely protest by an interested party, whether a procurement decision by an executive agency head was arbitrary, capricious, or in violation of statute or regulation. Prohibits the award of any contract after notice of such a protest unless the head of the procuring activity: (1) determines that urgent and compelling circumstances which significantly affect interests of the United States will not permit waiting for the decision; and (2) notifies the respective Board of that determination.

Permits a contracting officer to suspend performance of a contract if: (1) a protest is likely to be filed; and (2) immediate performance is not in the best interests of the United States. Requires that performance of a contract stop upon a timely protest unless the head of the procuring activity: (1) determines that urgent and compelling circumstances which significantly affect interests of the United States will not permit waiting for the decision; and (2) notifies the respective Board of that determination.

Limits the parties' discovery, and creates time-frames for certain specified Board procedures.

Requires specified simplified procedures be followed in disputes regarding contracts valued below $30 million unless a Chairman determines otherwise. Requires both the dismissal of frivolous protests brought or pursued in bad faith, and in specified circumstances, the payment of costs by a protesting party.

Permits the Boards to implement specified corrective actions deemed necessary and appropriate to arrest the violation of a regulation or statute. Allows: (1) the granting of relief authorized by regulation or statute in addition to those specified; (2) the filing of a protest or an action in a specified alternative forum; and (3) appeal of the Board's judgment according to specified procedures.

(Sec. 425) Limits the authority of the Boards to: (1) contracts below the simplified acquisition threshold; and (2) contracts for the procurement of commercial items.

Subtitle D: Repeal of Other Statutes Authorizing Administrative Protests - Repeals various other specified provisions authorizing administrative protests.

Subtitle E: Transfers and Transitional, Savings, and Conforming Provisions - Sets forth miscellaneous transfer and transitional, savings, and conforming provisions.

(Sec. 443) Amends the Contract Disputes Act of 1978 and other Federal law to conform to this Act.

Subtitle F: Effective Date; Regulations and Appointment of Chairmen - Sets forth the effective date of this title and provisions for implementing regulations governing protests and claims and the appointment of judges. Provides for the appointment of Chairmen of the Defense and Civilian Boards.

Title V: Effective Dates and Implementation - Establishes the effective date of this Act and a schedule for implementing regulations.