SBA Makes Changes to its Surety Bond Program

A final rule changes the Surety Bond Guarantee Program
Release Date: Thursday, September 14, 2017
Release Number: 17-57
Contact: Cecelia Taylor (202) 401-3059

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration has noted two important changes to its Surety Bond Guarantee (SBG) Program that will increase contract opportunities for small contractors, supporting them to grow their business operations.  The changes will become effective on September 20, 2017.

The SBA will increase the guarantee percentage in the Preferred Surety Bond Program from no more than 70 percent to no more than 90 percent.  The SBA’s guarantee will be 90 percent if the original contract amount is $100,000 or less, or if the bond is issued to a small business that is owned and controlled by socially or economically disadvantaged individuals, veterans, service disabled veterans, or certified HUBZone and 8(a) businesses.  All other guarantees will be 80 percent.

The eligible contract amount for the Quick Bond Application (Quick Bond) will increase to $400,000 from $250,000.  The Quick Bond is a streamlined application process, with reduced paperwork requirements, that is used in the Prior Approval Program for smaller contract amounts.  SBA’s review and approval requires minimal time, allowing small businesses to bid on and compete for contracting opportunities without delay.

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GSA Issues Harvey-Related Emergency Buying Power

The General Services Administration has upped special emergency procurement authority thresholds in response to the devastation brought by Hurricane Harvey.

The elevated thresholds, raised through a Senior Procurement Executive memo signed this week, will allow contracting officers and heads of contracting activities to more easily purchase resources they need to provide relief efforts.

The memo allows for micro-purchases of up from $3,000 to $20,000. The memo also increases the simplified acquisition threshold to $750,000, or up to $13 million for commercial items, and increases the simplified lease acquisition to $750,000.

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VA Veteran-Owned Small Business Verification Guidelines

A Proposed Rule by the Veterans Affairs Department on 09/01/2017


Department of Veterans Affairs.


Withdrawal of proposed rule.


The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published a rule in the Federal Register on November 6, 2015, 80 FR 68795 that proposed amending its regulations governing the VA’s Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) Verification Program. The Verification Program has been the subject of reports from both the Government Accountability Office and VA’s Office of Inspector General stating that despite VA’s Verification Program, fraud still exists in the Veterans First Contracting Program. Some stakeholder feedback has been that the current regulation is too open to interpretation and is unnecessarily more rigorous than similar certification programs run by the United State Small Business Administration (SBA).

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Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)

Jurisdictional Thresholds

The infographic is designed to explain jurisdictional thresholds for federal contractors and subcontractors under Executive Order 11246, as amended (Executive Order); Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 503); and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended, 38 U.S.C. 4212 (VEVRAA). It includes the increase to Section 503’s coverage threshold from $10,000 to $15,000 and the VEVRRA’s recent increase from $100,000 to $150,000. The increases result from an inflationary adjustment statute that authorizes the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council to review and adjust acquisition–related threshold amounts in statutes that apply to federal procurement.

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GSA Moves Into the Next Phase of Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) Rule Pilot Program

In May, GSA leadership announced the decision to make the Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) pilot program voluntary for contractors on the Multiple Award Schedules and/or Special Item Numbers (SINs) included in the pilot program.  The TDR rule, published in June 2016, enables GSA to collect transactional-level data on purchases made through a GSA contract vehicle. This data provides valuable information that not only helps us craft smarter buying strategies, but allows agencies to make smarter purchasing decisions, enhances competition and gives the federal government key intelligence around buying patterns.

This new GSA Acquisition Regulation (GSAR) rule also creates tremendous advantages for the vendor community, eliminating the cumbersome Commercial Sales Practices (CSP) and Price Reduction Clause (PRC) reporting requirements, reducing compliance burdens on contractors, particularly small businesses.

Agencies must be in compliance with ‘Buy America’ order by September

The Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Commerce released guidance on June 30 to instruct agencies how to enforce President Trump’s “Buy America” executive order.

The April 18 order required agencies to review and assess free trade agreements with foreign government contractors, closing loopholes in those agreements that might provide a competitive edge over domestic competition.

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Top 10 acquisition trends of FY17 [Commentary]

As the final push for fiscal 2017 contract obligations comes to an end, it’s helpful to take a step back and assess the contracting environmental trends that have emerged over the past year. Each trend lends itself to further study, so here’s a high-level look at the top 10.

1. Federal sector spending has bottomed out, with anticipated growth.

Following years of declining spending, it is beginning to appear like this decline has bottomed out, with a growth in federal spending on the horizon. While there is considerable talk, firm steps are in motion for increased contract spending, particularly in defense, with reduced civilian agency spending. Clearly, a reevaluation is occurring from the dramatic budget cuts proposed for many civilian agencies, while the Department of Defense will reap increases in the short term.

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716 regulations under review by DoD

The Defense Department has 15 different regulations for the Freedom of Information Act. It has 21 assorted rules for privacy.

This is a small sample of why the White House ordered agencies in February to reduce and reform regulations with a goal of getting rid of two for every new one they write.

DoD is taking on this huge task of getting rid of regulations, some of which go back to its War Department days, by reviewing 716 rules, including 350 of which are acquisition related.

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