Congress should protect competition, save Section 876

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On July 3, 2023, Federal News Network released a Commentary by Emily Murphy, Baroni Center Senior Fellow and a former Administrator of the General Services Administration. Murphy writes a compelling case to fix Section 876, Increasing Competition at the Task Order Level, passed in 2018 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2019. As noted in the commentary, " Unfortunately, a recent Court of Federal Claims decision severely limited the applicability of Section 876, making it useless for contracts like Polaris and Oasis-Plus. Congress should act quickly to fix Section 876 so that multiple award contracts focus on meaningful competition, getting the best solution for the government at the best price and reducing administrative burdens on small contractors and contracting officers."

For example: "The burden is immense — the Alliant 2 GWAC required the submission and evaluation of direct labor rates, fringe rates, overhead, general and administrative (G&A) and profits for 124 different labor categories with price escalations over a 15-year period. This information had to be provided for onsite and offsite work — this is 4,960 different figures. This also affects small business contracts — OASIS SB required small businesses to provide the same level of detail for 104 different labor categories, or 4,160 different price points."

Murphy's recommendation is for a congressional clarification to the authority that "extends to any services contract where pricing will be thoroughly competed prior to awarding each task order."

Read the full commentary.