Summary: S.338 — 98th Congress (1983-1984)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed Senate amended (11/11/1983)

(Measure passed Senate, amended)

Competition in Contracting Act of 1983 - Title I: Amendments to Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 - Amends the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 to revise the procedures for soliciting and awarding bids for Government contracts.

Requires executive agencies (excluding military departments, the Coast Guard, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) to use competitive procedures in making contracts for property or services.

Directs agencies to: (1) use advance planning and market research, prepare specifications, and solicit bids in a manner designed to achieve effective competition for a contract; and (2) use the competitive procedure or combination of procedures best suited for a procurement action.

Authorizes an agency to provide for the procurement of property or services in order to establish or maintain any alternative source of supply by using competitive procedures but excluding a particular source if doing so would: (1) increase or maintain competition and reduce procurement costs; (2) be in the interest of industrial mobilization in a national emergency; or (3) serve national defense interests in establishing or maintaining an essential research capability.

Requires procurement regulations to include simplified procedures and forms for making small purchases. Defines a "small purchase" as any purchase or contract which does not exceed $25,000. Prohibits dividing a procurement for the purpose of using small purchase procedures.

Requires an agency, when using competitive procedures for other than small purchases, to solicit sealed bids when: (1) time permits the solicitation, submission, and evaluation of sealed bids; (2) the award will be made on the basis of price and other price-related factors; (3) discussions with responding sources are not necessary; and (4) there is a reasonable expectation of receiving more than one bid. Directs an agency to request competitive proposals when sealed bids are not required.

Permits agencies to use noncompetitive procurement procedures only when: (1) there is only one source and no substitute for the property or services needed; (2) the agency's need for the property or services is of such unusual or compelling urgency that the delay associated with using competitive procedures would seriously injure the Government; (3) it is necessary to award the contract to a particular source to maintain a source available for furnishing property or services in a national emergency, to achieve industrial mobilization in such an emergency, or to establish or maintain an essential research capability; (4) an international agreement or treaty with a foreign government or international organization requires such procedures; (5) a statute authorizes or requires that the procurement be made through another agency or a specified source; (6) the agency needs to procure a brand name commercial item for authorized resale; (7) disclosure of an agency's needs to more than one source would compromise national security; or (8) the property to be procured is technical or special property which has required a substantial initial investment or an extended period of preparation for manufacture and its production by other than the original source would result in additional costs or delays. Prohibits an agency from awarding a contract using noncompetitive procedures unless: (1) the use of such procedures has been justified in writing; and (2) a notice of such procurement has been published by the Secretary of Commerce and all proposals received in response have been considered by the agency.

Declares that for the purposes of the Walsh-Healey Act and the Davis-Bacon Act, purchases or contracts using other than sealed bid procedures shall be treated as if they were made with such procedures.

Requires agency solicitations for bids or proposals to include specifications which: (1) permit effective competition; and (2) contain only such restrictive provisions as are necessary to meet agency needs or as are required by law. Requires all solicitations for bids or proposals for other than small purchases to state: (1) the relative importance of all significant factors which the agency will consider in evaluating such bids or proposals; (2) in the case of sealed bids, that their will be no discussions with bidders; and (3) in the case of competitive proposals, that proposals are intended to be evaluated with discussions with the offerors, but might be evaluated without discussions.

Requires each agency to: (1) evaluate bids and proposals solely on the basis of factors specified in the solicitation; and (2) award contracts to the bidder or offeror whose bid or proposal is most advantageous to the Government considering the price and other factors. Permits an agency to reject all bids or proposals if such action is in the public interest. Requires an agency, when evaluating competitive proposals, to award a contract: (1) after conducting written or oral discussions with all offerors submitting proposals within a specified range; or (2) on the basis of the proposals as received without discussions with the offerors (beyond minor clarifications) where it can be demonstrated from the existence of effective competition or accurate prior cost experience with the product or service that acceptance of an initial proposal without discussions would result in fair and reasonable prices.

Directs an agency head to refer to the Attorney General any sealed bid or proposal evidencing an antitrust violation.

Requires each agency to furnish for publication by the Secretary of Commerce a notice announcing: (1) its intention to solicit bids or proposals for a contract for property or services at a price expected to exceed $10,000; and (2) the award of such a contract if there is likely to be a subcontract. Directs an agency not to: (1) issue a solicitation earlier than 15 days after such solicitation notice is published; or (2) provide less than 30 days after such notice is published for the submission of bids. Requires that such notice include: (1) an accurate description of the property or service to be procured; (2) the name and address of the agency representative to contact to obtain a copy of the solicitation; (3) a statement that any person may submit a bid or proposal; and (4) a justification of any use of noncompetitive procedures. Declares that such solication notice requirements shall not apply: (1) if such notice would disclose agency needs the disclosure of which would compromise national security; (2) to certain noncompetitive procurements, including any noncompetitive procurement that would result from an unsolicited research proposal that demonstrates a unique or innovative research proposal; or (3) to any procurement for which the agency head and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration concur that it is not appropriate to publish a notice before issuing a solicitation.

Requires agencies to: (1) maintain records, by fiscal year, of noncompetitive procurements and competitive procurements for which only one bid was received, excluding small purchases; and (2) transmit such information to the Federal Procurement Data Center.

Requires a prime Government contractor or subcontractor, with specified exceptions, to submit and certify the accuracy of cost of pricing data prior to: (1) the award of contracts using other than sealed bid procedures and certain subcontracts where the price is expected to exceed $100,000; or (2) the pricing of any modification to such a contract or subcontract expected to result in a price adjustment exceeding $100,000. Requires the price to the Government of such a contract, subcontract, or modification to be adjusted to exclude any significant amount by which the price was increased because of inaccurate data. Authorizes an agency representative, for three years after final payment under such a contract or subcontract, to examine the contractor's records and other information to evaluate the accuracy of the cost and pricing data.

Title II: Amendments to Title 10, United States Code - Revises procurement procedures for military departments, the Coast Guard, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to correspond with procurement procedures for executive agencies under title I of this Act.

Permits contracts to require the carriage of Government property in cargo containers of specific dimensions if the Secretary of Defense determines that military requirements necessitate the specification of container sizes.

Title III: Advocate for Competition; Annual Report on Competition - Directs the head of each executive agency to designate an officer or employee as an advocate for competition who shall promote competition in the procurement of property and services. Requires the advocate to report to the head of the agency on: (1) opportunities to achieve competition; (2) solicitations which contain unnecessarily detailed or restrictive specifications and other conditions that may reduce competition; and (3) his or her activities, annually.

Requires the head of each agency, through 1986, to transmit to specified congressional committees an annual report which: (1) describes all actions the agency head intends to take during the next fiscal year to increase competition for agency contracts, and to reduce the number and value of agency contracts awarded after soliciting or evaluating bids or proposals from only one source; and (2) summarizes the activities of the agency's advocate for competition.

Title IV: Applicability - Declares that this Act shall apply with respect to solicitations for bids or proposals issued on or after the date 270 days after enactment.