Published on: December 10, 2021
Authors: Chatrane Birbal
A federal contractor debarment amendment previously in the House 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4350) was removed as the House and Senate reconciled their versions of the bill. Prior to the Senate’s rejection of the proposal, HR Policy sent a letter of opposition urging that the amendment be excluded from a final bill.
The amendment would have directed all federal agencies and department heads to automatically initiate debarment proceedings against federal contractors with at least four violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act from the previous four years.
Meanwhile, Congress directed the Department of Defense and the Acquisition Innovation Research Center (AIRC) to make recommendations concerning reforms to the federal contractor suspension and debarment process as it relates to labor law violations, including failing to pay minimum wage and overtime and keep accurate records. The timing of the AIRC recommendations is uncertain.
Outlook: The Senate is expected to pass the National Defense Authorization Act next week. However, the Biden administration will continue to seek ways to make labor and employment changes through federal contractor policy, including through the AIRC recommendations and expected White House Task Force report on Worker Organizing and Empowerment.