The Small Business Administration published an interim rule to lift the existing caps on federal contract awards for the Women-Owned Small Business program. The new interim rule is effective immediately, according to the Federal Register Notice.
The provision is expected to benefit women-owned small federal contractors. It was approved by Congress and the White House in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (NDAA) signed by the president in January.
The interim final rule removes the anticipated award price of the contract thresholds for women-owned small businesses (WOSB) and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSB) to allow them greater access to federal contracting opportunities without limitations to the size of the contract. The rule can be accessed at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-05-07/html/2013-10841.htm and comments can be submitted on or before June 6, 2013, at www.regulations.gov, identified by the following RIN number: RIN 3245-AG55.
As a result of the rule change, contracting officers will be able to set aside specific contracts for certified WOSBs and EDWOSBs at any dollar level which will help federal agencies achieve the existing statutory goal of five percent of federal contracting dollars being awarded to WOSBs. The SBA is currently working on the changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulations.
Prior to the rule change, the anticipated award price of the contract for women-owned and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses could not exceed $6.5 million for manufacturing contracts and $4 million for all other contracts.