Short Take: An Overview of GAO Bid Protests – To What End?
November 11, 2014
By: Lindsay Simmons
On October 4, 2014, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) issued a report for Congress entitled GAO Bid Protests: An Overview of Time Frames and Procedures. Bid protests are of interest to Congress because they affect agency missions and operations. While the Government Accountability Office (GAO) is not the only forum with authority to hear bid protests involving federal acquisitions – the U.S. Court of Federal Claims can also hear bid protests – the GAO hears the vast majority of protests.
The GAO is required by statute to provide for the “inexpensive and expeditious” resolution of protests, “[t]o the maximum extent practicable.” To this end, the protest process provides for an accelerated 100-day turnaround time from protest filing to final decision.
A GAO protest may trigger an automatic stay of award or performance that can last for the duration of the protest. These stays are unique to bid protests filed with GAO and, not surprisingly therefore, make GAO a very popular venue for protests.
The following chart shows the dramatic uptick in GAO protests since 2007. The question in our minds is whether or not Congress will take steps to reverse this trend – by eliminating or modifying the automatic stay provision or by other means.
Lindsay Simmons is responsible for the contents of this Short Take.
© Jackson Kelly PLLC, 2014