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Skill Briefs
Mar 26, 2020
COVID-19: OMB Guidance Urges Flexibility in Management of Government Contracts During Pandemic- Practical Tips for Contractors
The COVID-19 epidemic is creating uncertainties for contractors performing government contracts due to, among other things, changes in facility access, new health rules, and an evolving situation. In apparent response to industry concerns, the Office of Management and Budget ("OMB") issued Memorandum M-20-18, "Managing Federal Contract Performance Issues Associated with the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19)" dated March 20, 2020. OMB states that the purpose of the memorandum is to identify steps to help ensure contractor health and safety while maintaining continued contract performance in support of agency missions consistent with precautions issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Skill Briefs
Mar 26, 2020
COVID-19: Overview of the Defense Production Act and Implications for Government Contractors
By Executive Order dated March 18, 2020, the President invoked wartime powers authority provided in the Defense Production Act ("DPA") to direct private industry in the interests of the national defense. See, 50 U.S.C. Ch. 55; The Defense Production Act of 1950: History, Authorities, and Considerations for Congress (CRS REPORT NO. R43767). The definition of "national defense" is expansive and extends to domestic preparedness, response and recovery from natural hazards, terrorist attacks, and other national emergencies. 50 U.S.C.  4552(14). The President's authority includes the ability to prioritize government contracts over competing customers for goods and services and allocate or control materials, services, and facilities necessary to promote the national defense. The Executive Order specifically identifies ventilators and personal protective equipment as priorities and delegates authority to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to identify further necessary health resources relating to the COVID-19 emergency. Although the Executive Order was initially limited to medical items, we are already seeing expansions to other sectors of the economy outside of the medical field.