Economic relief legislation to ease the pain of the coronavirus epidemic is in the works and trade groups representing government contractors are highlighting issues unique to them that they should be addressed.
Ten trade organizations that count government contractors as members have asked congressional leaders to include language in pending economic relief legislation that will give direct help to GovCon firms amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter signed and dated Thursday, the organizations also offered draft language to consider for such legislation they say would also address any financial impacts contractors could face if they are not able to perform their jobs.
That legislation should require the Office of Management and Budget to give federal contracting officers guidance “to provide equitable adjustments to contractors who are unable to access the federal facility required to perform their duties,” according to the letter.
Equitable adjustments would be granted under Federal Acquisition Regulations related to excusable delays and “related to the occurrence of epidemics as excusable delays as it relates to the inability of a contractor to perform in a timely manner,” the letter says.
Federal agencies are closing offices and restricting access to facilities that many contractors must have access to in order to do their job, particularly work that relates to national security.
The Professional Services Council (one of the 10) said in a letter of its own earlier this week to OMB Acting Director Russell Vought that while contractors are being sent home and told that remote work is not authorized under the contract, the authority to authorize it does exist and government managers just need guidance on how to proceed.
In the new letter PSC and the other nine trade groups signed, they said relief legislation should also encourage the use of telework and virtual work environments and give exemptions to those in national security-related fields such as defense, intelligence, and aerospace development and manufacturing.
Organizations that signed the Thursday letter alongside PSC were the American Council of Engineering Companies, Associated General Contractors of America, the Center for Procurement Advocacy, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, the CompTIA Information Technology Industry Council, the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, and the National Defense Industrial Association.