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In 2018, federal contract spending increased for the third straight year to $559 billion, a 9% increase over 2017 spending and the highest level since 2010, when agencies spent $562 billion. Among the departments with the biggest gains in contract spending in fiscal 2018 were: Defense, Energy, Homeland Security and Transportation. Some of the top markets were weapons, professional services, aircraft parts and technology.  Read More



This past week, President Trump signed a bipartisan debt increase and new set of spending limits that would sustain spending increases for the Pentagon among other budgetary areas. The long-negotiated agreement permits the government to resume borrowing to pay its bills and sets an overall $1.37 trillion limit on agency budgets approved by Congress annually. It also ends automatic spending cuts and eliminates the prospect of an October government shutdown.  Read More



The full Senate confirmed Mark Esper, secretary of the U.S. Army, as the next secretary of the Department of Defense after the upper chamber’s Armed Services Committee approved by a voice vote his nomination Thursday. Earlier in the week, Esper faced questioning during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, (D-Mass.) who questioned Esper’s past work as former vice president for government relations at Raytheon, the company’s chief lobbyist.  Read More



Federal agencies are exploring ways to more effectively review contractors’ past performance, including harnessing bots, according to acquisition officials. CPARS past performance reports are critical to agencies, as well as to contracting companies. They document vendors’ performance on contracts previously awarded and completed, and federal agencies rely on the reports for market research for upcoming contracts. A mark below “exceptional” or “very good” on CPARS can mean the next agency passes on a vendor for its contract.  Read More



The House earlier this week voted to block the Trump administration from furloughing 150 Office of Personnel Management employees if Congress does not agree by the end of June to support a plan to merge OPM with the General Services Administration, but has since reversed course following House pushback.  Read More



The Trump administration doesn't yet have a legal analysis to justify why it believes it can merge the Office of Personnel Management with the General Services Administration. Attorneys at OPM are still developing that analysis, even as the administration had told Congress it needed a commitment to merge the two agencies by June 30 or else risk the potential for furloughs of OPM employees.  Read More



With industry groups and government watchdog organizations expressing concern, the proposed merger of the Office of Personnel Management with the General Services Administration, does not appear likely to happen.  Read More



The proposed Administrative Services Merger Act of 2019 -- the Trump administration's legislative proposal that was sent to lawmakers would eliminate the Office of Personnel Management as an independent entity and move that agency's functions to the General Services Administration -- a move some fear could take years to implement.  Read More



It is believed, that a sizable portion of the "tax gap" of revenues that go uncollected by the Internal Revenue Service is attributable to current and would-be federal contractors. Though the IRS is prohibited from sharing such information with agency procurement staff, contracting officers are supposed to examine the self-reporting of tax debts from the companies to which they give awards. That is not always occurring, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report addressed to leaders of the House Oversight and Reform and the Ways and Means committees.  Read More



For its 10th anniversary, the agenda features key stakeholders across the in-house, law firm and government realms. The stage is thus set for the DCAA & DCMA-focused gathering that you cannot afford to miss for benchmarking, meeting with your peers, and learning practical solutions to both new and persistent auditing and compliance hurdles.  Read More



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