CONGRESS

Senate vote moves repeal of 'blacklisting' another step closer

Editor's Note: A version of this article was first published on FCW.com.

In a tight vote the evening of March 6, the Senate approved a measure to strike down the final "Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces" Federal Acquisition Regulation, often referred to as the "blacklisting rule."

The rule was mandated that contractors had to disclose workplace labor violations before they could work for the federal government. Industry groups complained that it exposed contractors to an assumption of guilt without giving them due process.

While the rule was finalized in August it hasn't had practical impact yet because implementation of most of the rule has been held up since October by a federal court.

Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress can undo recent executive regulations by a joint resolution in an expedited process being used with new frequency under Republican-controlled government.

"The rule imposes costly reporting requirements on small businesses that many simply cannot bear, and it also reduces the availability and increases the price of much-needed supplies and services, including to our military," Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, said in a speech on the Senate floor.

The Professional Services Council applauded the Senate vote saying in a statement that the rule unfairly denies contractors due process rights because it elevates allegations to the same level as convictions in federal contract evaluations, and it sets up another duplicative compliance regime in federal contracting.

"This vote is a significant step that will return fairness and due process to the government contracting community, while retaining the labor law enforcement mechanisms that ensure compliance and accountability," PSC president and CEO David Berteau  said in a statement. 

President Donald Trump is expected to sign the measure.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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