When Litigation Doesn’t Provide Relief, Congress May
January 29, 2014
By: Lindsay Simmons
Congress recently passed, and the President signed, the Omnibus Appropriations Bill for FY2014. This Bill funds Job Corps at $1,688,155,000, with $1,578,008,000 for operations; $80,000,000 for construction; and $30,147,000 for the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Office of Job Corps.
Most importantly, an explanatory statement to the Bill addresses what many consider to be the DOL’s abuse of the small business set-aside process when conducting procurements for the operation of Job Corps Centers. This abuse has been the subject of numerous protests filed by large business incumbents in the United States Court of Federal Claims and appealed to the Federal Circuit. Although to date these Courts have not provided contractors with the requested relief, Congress has stepped in with a partial solution, as follows:
EXPLANATORY STATEMENT SUBMITTED BY MR. ROGERS OF KENTUCKY, CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS, REGARDING THE CONSOLIDATED APPROPRIATIONS ACT 2014
The following is an explanation of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014.
OFFICE OF JOB CORPS
Contracts provided for the operation and maintenance of Job Corps facilities are generally let on a two-year basis, with as many as three option years depending on the quality of performance. When evaluating contract renewals or re-bids, due consideration should be provided to the federal investment already made in high-performing incumbent contractors as a part of a full, fair, and open competitive process. As part of this process, the Department of Labor (DOL) should consider documented past performance of student outcomes and cost-effective administration as important factors in Job Corps procurements.
160 Cong. Rec. H475 - 1,215 (daily ed. Jan. 15, 2014).
The takeaway: Court is not the only avenue for relief from problematic procurement processes and outcomes. Sometimes Congress needs to modify the law, or provide an agency with additional guidance on how to interpret or implement existing law.
Lindsay Simmons is the attorney responsible for the content of this article.
© Jackson Kelly PLLC 2014