In a new letter to the leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees, the Professional Services Council, an industry group, says it supports several provisions in the House and Senate versions of the defense policy bill.
The group urges the committees as they hash out the two bills to maintain certain elements, including one in the Senate bill that repeals a bid protest pilot program that called for losing protestors to cover the cost.
"The fundamental purpose of the bid protest process is to hold agencies accountable for following the law and their procurement procedures in a transparent manner," PSC writes in the Sept. 28 letter. "Establishing a 'loser-pay' fee structure for bid protests and penalizing incumbent contractors who file protests does not support that fundamental purpose, and PSC has opposed the provision."
PSC notes several additional provisions it does not support, including a part of the House bill that would require publication of border wall contract data.
"The federal government is already required to make public significant amounts of information related to contract awards, including the information required by this provision," the letter says. "Requiring a new and separate list of contracts specifically relating to the construction or maintenance of any particular subset of such date, including but not limited to a barrier along the United States and Mexico border if above a certain dollar threshold, is unnecessary and duplicative, and doing so would unfairly single out contractors performing work under properly-awarded existing contracts."
David Berteau, PSC's chief executive, signed the letter. He writes that including the provisions backed by PSC in the final bill could "significantly improve the benefits the Defense Department can gain from the contractor community."
Meanwhile, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) said today the fiscal year 2021 defense authorization bill will not formally enter conference committee negotiations until after the Nov. 3 election.