Federal Register: Federal Acquisition Regulation: Certification of Women-Owned Small Businesses

“SUMMARY:

DoD, GSA, and NASA are proposing to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement the final rule published by the Small Business Administration implementing a section of the Carl Levin and Howard P. ‘Buck’ McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015.

DATES:

Interested parties should submit comments to the Regulatory Secretariat Division at one of the addresses shown below on or before December 6, 2021 to be considered in the formulation of a final rule…”

“SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

DoD, GSA, and NASA are proposing to revise the FAR to implement section 825(a)(1) of the Carl Levin and Howard P. ‘Buck’ McKeon National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 (15 U.S.C. 637(m)), Public Law 113-291. Section 825 requires women-owned small business (WOSB) concerns and economically disadvantaged women-owned small business (EDWOSB) concerns to be certified by the Small Business Administration (SBA), a Federal agency, a State government, or a national certifying entity approved by SBA in the WOSB Program to be eligible for set-aside or sole-source awards.

SBA issued a final rule at 85 FR 27650, May 11, 2020, to implement section 825(a)(1). In their final rule, SBA amended 13 CFR part 127 requiring WOSB and EDWOSB concerns be certified by a Federal agency, a State government, the SBA, or a national certifying entity approved by SBA in order to be eligible under the WOSB Program for set-aside or sole-source awards.

II. Discussion and Analysis

The proposed changes to the FAR and the rationale for the proposed changes are summarized in the following paragraphs.

Changes are proposed to FAR 2.101, Definitions, to update the definition of Economically disadvantaged women-owned small business concern (EDWOSB) and Women-owned small business (WOSB) concern eligible under the WOSB Program to add that the concern is certified by SBA or an approved third-party certifier in accordance with 13 CFR 127.300.

Changes are proposed to FAR 19.308(d), Protesting a firm’s status as an EDWOSB concern or WOSB concern eligible under the WOSB Program, to require a protest to be submitted by email to SBA at wosbprotest@sba.gov. FAR 19.308(d) is also amended to propose deletion of text requiring SBA to consider protests by contracting officers when the apparent successful offeror has failed to provide all of the required documents, as set forth in FAR 19.1503(c). Changes are also proposed to FAR 19.308 to add the requirement that the protest present evidence that the concern is not at least 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more economically disadvantaged women ‘who are United States citizens’, based on the requirements of 13 CFR part 127. The addition of ‘United States citizens’ aligns the FAR text with SBA’s regulations.

FAR 19.1501, Definition, is reserved to delete the definition of WOSB Program Repository since the WOSB Program Repository is no longer the source for WOSB program eligibility as of October 15, 2020.

FAR 19.1503, Status, is amended to add the requirement for the contracting officer to verify the designation as a certified WOSB or EDWOSB small business in the Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) at https://web.sba.gov/pro-net/search/dsp_dsbs.cfm. The designation will also appear in the System for Award Management (SAM) after issuance of the final rule. Paragraphs (c) and (d) at FAR 19.1503, are proposed to be deleted. Paragraphs (e) and (f) at FAR 19.1503 are Start Printed Page 55770 redesignated as new paragraphs (c) and (d).

FAR 19.1504, Exclusions, is amended at paragraph (b) to replace Federal Prison Industries, Inc., and AbilityOne with “mandatory Government sources (see section 8.002)”, since both entities are referenced at FAR 8.002, Priorities for use of mandatory Government sources.

FAR 19.1505, Set-aside procedures, is amended to allow an offeror to submit an offer while awaiting certification under the WOSB Program. FAR 19.1505 is also amended to provide the contracting officer with guidance if an apparent successful offeror’s certification is pending under the WOSB Program. The contracting officer, prior to award, shall verify the apparently successful offeror is certified in SAM or DSBS. If the apparently successful offeror’s EDWOSB or WOSB certification is pending in DSBS, the contracting officer shall notify SBA’s Director/Government Contracting by email at WOSBpendingcertification@sba.gov, and request SBA’s eligibility determination…” Read the full document here.

Source: Federal Acquisition Regulation: Certification of Women-Owned Small Businesses – October 7, 2021. Federal Register.

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