Legislative and Executive Branch Activity
Despite the House’s plans to bring the House FY 2014 Defense appropriations bill (H.R. 2397) to the floor, the House Rules Committee abruptly ended its session on July 18, to consider a rule governing debate of the measure. Enough Republicans reportedly were unhappy that they would not get any votes on certain amendments, such as the National Security Agency phone surveillance program and U.S. military aid to Egypt’s interim government and to Syria’s rebels. While the Rules Committee indicated it may try again this week, it remains uncertain whether the House will bring the bill to the floor for debate before the August recess. Meanwhile, Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin (D-MI) acknowledged there will be no movement on the Senate FY 2014 National Defense Authorization Act until after the August recess.
Last week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) reportedly threatened to put a hold on the re-nomination of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey. The senator is apparently seeking answers from the chairman on U.S. policy toward Syria.
The Afghan government halted the flow of U.S. military supplies across its borders last week, claiming Washington owes $70 million in fines for lack of proper customs paperwork for 70,000 shipping containers.
On July 16, the Small Business Administration issued a Final Rule requiring prime contractors to provide the government a more detailed accounting of their dealings with small business subcontractors. The final rule requires that small business subcontracting be reported on an “order-by-order” basis when connected to multi-agency, Federal Supply Schedule, Multiple Award Schedule, or government-wide acquisition indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contracts. The rule implements the requirement in the JOBS Act (Pub. L. No. 111-240) for large prime contractors to represent that they will make good-faith efforts to award subcontracts to small businesses at the same percentage as indicated in the subcontracting plans submitted as part of their contract proposals. If the percentages are not met, prime contractors must provide a written justification and explanation to the contracting officer. The final rule also makes clear that, in addition to considering subcontracting plan compliance under a past performance factor, a contracting officer also can create an evaluation factor or sub-factor specifically for purposes of considering subcontracting plan past performance. The final rule becomes effective August 15.
This Week’s Hearings:
- Tuesday, July 23: The House Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on “Rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific Region and Implications for U.S. National Security.”
- Tuesday, July 23: The House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel will hold a hearing on “Women in Service Reviews.”
- Wednesday, July 24: The House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces will hold a hearing on “Acquisition and Development Challenges Associated with the Littoral Combat Ship.”
- Thursday, July 25: The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for the following Defense Department nominees: Stephen Preston to be General Counsel; Jon Rymer to be Inspector General; Susan Rabern to be Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Financial Management and Comptroller; and Dennis McGinn to be Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations, and Environment.