Over the past several months, this blog has analyzed several key provisions of the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that impact government contractors. This post briefly summarizes a variety of other government contracts-related provisions of the FY 2019 NDAA that we have not yet discussed, including several that reflect a congressional intent to enhance the use of multiple-award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contracts and encourage commercial item contracting, several that concern subcontracting and supply-chain considerations, and assorted other issues.
Awarding IDIQ Contracts Without Considering Price to Increase Order-Level Competition.
Section 876 provides a limited exception to the general requirement in 41 U.S.C. § 3306 that agencies must include cost or price to the government as an evaluation factor in evaluating proposals. The exception applies to task-order contracts (i.e., IDIQ contracts) for services that are priced on the basis of hourly rates. Specifically, agencies need not consider price as an evaluation factor for such contracts if:
- the agency will award a base contract to every “qualifying offeror”—meaning a responsible source whose proposal conforms to solicitation requirements, meets all technical requirements, and is otherwise eligible for award; and
- the agency will consider cost or price to the government in competitions for individual task orders.
This provision applies to non-defense agencies. Defense agencies had previously been granted a similar exception in the FY 2017 NDAA. See 10 U.S.C. § 2305(a)(3)(C).
Congress’s goal, as evidenced by the title to section 876, is “Increasing Competition at the Task Order Level.” By awarding base IDIQ contracts to all compliant proposals, without discriminating between them based on price, agencies are likely to have more contract-holders available to compete for specific work at the task-order level. Use of this mechanism should reduce an important barrier to entry to many potential competitors—not holding the necessary IDIQ contract to compete for work solicited under task order solicitations—and, by increasing competition, could result in lower pricing and better technical offerings at the task order level.
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