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New Year's Resolutions from WIPP's Advocacy Team

Posted By Elizabeth Sullivan, WIPP Advocacy Team, Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, January 14, 2020

It has been two weeks since New Year's Day and you’re not alone if you have broken most or all of your New Year's resolutions. While we put our personal resolutions aside, when it comes to advocacy, our team has made some we are committed to keeping.

Elizabeth Sullivan
  1. Untangle the web of new federal cybersecurity requirements for WOSBs.

  2. Urge the Senate to pass the SBA Reauthorization bill

  3. Celebrate and build upon our FY2020 NDAA wins.

  4. Support Congressional women

Untangle the web of new federal cybersecurity requirements for WOSBs

2020 is shaping up to be the year of securing the federal supply chain. This may sound dry or mundane, but recent changes truly impact every federal contractor of every size. While we did a deeper dive last year, let me provide some context. Our work does not stop when a bill becomes a law. In fact, the devil is in the details, so providing input during the regulatory process is just as important as the passage of the law (read a refresher on the regulatory process). In addition, remember that a proposed or new regulation is called a “rule.” Major agency actions – all regulatory – require our attention. 

 

  • Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) – The final version of this requirement should be published later this month. The CMMC is expected to designate maturity levels ranging from “Basic Cybersecurity Hygiene” to “Advanced.”  While contractors will be required to be certified by an accrediting body, it has not yet been determined. This body is expected to enter into an MOU with the DoD sometime this month. The government has indicated that contractors will be reimbursed for the certification fee through their pricing on contracts to the federal government. However, the current cost remains unclear. CMMC will eventually be required for anyone doing business with DoD – the certification levels will begin to be included in RFIs starting in June and RFPs sometime in the fall. One important point made by Katie Arrington, DoD’s Chief Information Security Officer for Acquisition and Sustainment, was to never post your CMMC level certification on your website, as hackers will then know the types of security you are employing and target accordingly. Although there are still some factors to be determined, this certification is moving full steam ahead – and compliance strategies will be an important exercise for every federal contractor in 2020.
  • Section 889: Prohibition on Certain Telecommunications and Video Surveillance Services or Equipment – Commonly referred to as “Section 889,” this rule seems like it would have nothing to do with small businesses or most contractors, however, it does. It broadly prohibits federal agencies from using telecommunications or surveillance equipment or services from six Chinese companies or their subsidiaries. WIPP Chief Advocate Ann Sullivan took a closer look at the rule. In step two of implementation, a rule is expected to go into effect sometime this year that prohibits any government contractor from using any components or services from these companies. If you are renewing your SAM profile, you will notice a new question asking if you provide covered telecommunications equipment or services in the performance of any contract or subcontract. This action impacts the entire supply chain, covering all contracts. 

Additionally, WIPP members have aired their frustrations for years on the government’s security clearance processes, both in civilian agencies and at DoD. This “chicken and egg” issue continues to hamper WOSBs and other small contractors from reaching their full potential. We hear you and are working to create policy solutions on these issues.

 

Urge the Senate to pass the SBA Reauthorization bill

WIPP has been working closely with the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship to make necessary changes to programs benefiting entrepreneurs through the Small Business Administration (SBA). The Chairman’s draft contains 15 changes that, if passed, will be game-changers for women business owners. This includes positive sole source changes for federal contractors and increasing the ability for WOSBs to access capital.

 

Unfortunately, the Committee postponed action on a comprehensive reauthorization bill after failing to agree on proposed regulatory changes contained in the draft legislation. Despite this setback, you should still contact your Senators, urging action. We even have a letter you can easily download and send. This bill has enormous implications for small and midsize businesses around the country – we’ll be keeping up the drumbeat. One detail to know about this effort is that while it is a new year, it is not a new Congress. The 116th Congress is in its second session, which means that bills introduced in 2019 are still active in 2020.

 

Celebrate and build upon our FY2020 NDAA wins

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is a must-pass bill by Congress – authorizing all of the DoD programs on an annual basis. The 2020 NDAA, passed in December 2019, contained three WIPP supported provisions that positively impact WOSBs.

  • The first is the prompt payment for small business prime contractors and subsequently their subcontractors. WIPP has supported permanently establishing an accelerated payment date since the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directive expired in 2017, and this provision establishes a goal of 15 days after proper invoice.
  • The second is uncovering small business participation on multiple award contracts that are designated as best-in-class vehicles. As the spend through these vehicles increases, it is critical to have data on WOSB participation. Therefore, the provision requires the SBA to report the dollar amount of contracts awarded to small businesses.
  • WIPP’s third win was to strengthen accountability for subcontractors. The provision implements a new dispute process allowing small subcontractors to bring nonpayment issues to the agency’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), as well as strengthen the agency’s ability to collect and review data regarding prime contractors' achievement of their subcontracting plans.

Support Congressional women

As we all know, this is a Presidential election year. However, the entire House of Representatives and a third of the seats in the Senate are also up for grabs. Electing women to Congress is important, no matter your party affiliation. Currently, 127 women serve in the U.S. Congress – 26 in the Senate and 101 in the House. The women in the Senate have long been a model for avoiding legislative gridlock. They are often the negotiators who are willing to reach across the aisle to find common ground on major pieces of legislation. Women Members are also the cosponsors on legislation important to women entrepreneurs. For example, our bill to increase investment in women-owned federal contractors, The Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019, is championed in the Senate by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) with Chair Marco Rubio (R-FL) and in the House by Representative Robin Kelly (D-IL). 

 

It is also important to note that the Senate just confirmed a new Administrator to the Small Business Administration, current U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza. We are thrilled to work with her again, as she was formerly an SBA Deputy Administrator and championed issues important to women-owned businesses during her tenure.

 

No doubt, other policy priorities will arise as the year moves forward. Although there are many political pressures that threaten to derail our efforts, we remain committed to the bipartisan mission of empowering women entrepreneurs. Let’s get to work.

 

Tags:  Advocacy  cybersecurity  leadership  SBA  women-owned 

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Advocacy Update: Legislation Introduced to Encourage Agencies to Use Small Businesses

Posted By Advocacy Team, Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The WIPP-supported bill, The Promoting Rigorous and Innovative Cost Efficiencies for Federal Procurement and Acquisitions (PRICE) Act of 2019 (S. 3038)was introduced this week, which addresses agency utilization of small businesses in the federal marketplace. We are thrilled to see this bill introduced by Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) and will continue to advocate for its passage. 

 

Read WIPP’s combined letter of support for the bill.


As many small businesses find that agencies continue to be reluctant to use small business programs, this bipartisan bill addresses this prevailing issue by requiring the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to convene the existing Chief Acquisition Officers Council (CAOC) to identify and disseminate best practices in non-defense small business contracting in the federal government. The CAOC would also be required to solicit public input and engage with governmental and nongovernmental experts.

The PRICE Act will positively impact the way in which this valuable information is gathered and shared with the public and across the federal government, as well as provide increased opportunities for small businesses by educating the acquisition workforce on best practices for using small business programs.

 

 

Tags:  Advocacy  federal contracting  Federal Procurement  Federal Procurement Opportunities  legislation 

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Let There Be Peace On Earth

Posted By Ann Sullivan, WIPP Chief Advocate, Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, December 3, 2019

With the holiday season in full swing, 2019 comes to a close and our advocacy wraps up for the year. Looking back on the year, our policy accomplishments have been at record levels.

AnnSullivan

An unprecedented five WIPP members testified before Congress. WIPP championed legislation that tackles a problem plaguing women-owned businesses—the ability to get equity financing without losing their ability to do federal government work. The Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019 (S. 1981), included in a comprehensive reauthorization of SBA’s programs authorized by the Senate Small Business Committee, also empowers women investors by requiring any equity to come from a majority women-owned equity firm. That is just one of 15 legislative changes in the reauthorization bill supported by WIPP. The House has also passed a number of bills important to WIPP—the major one being H.R. 190 which raises sole source thresholds for women-owned, veteran, and HUBZone companies. 


Capitol Hill is not the only place that requires advocacy. Federal agencies that promulgate regulations are equally as important to our businesses. This year WIPP submitted its views on the DOD’s new cyber security requirement; the FAR Council’s Section 889 rule, which will affect the whole federal supply chain; and the procurement practice known as LPTA (lowest price technically acceptable), which has been a thorn in the side of small businesses. 


Our efforts were reinforced by the members of WIPP that participated in our Hill meeting during WIPP’s National Business Leadership conference in June. WIPP Members spoke directly to the legislative team that was in the process of drafting the reauthorization bill and made a difference. In addition, our members join the monthly policy webinars and the newly formed policy committees which assist us successfully representing women business owners. WIPP’s Board of Directors and Leadership Advisory Council are our eyes and ears on the ground, bringing issues to our attention.


Despite all of these successes, there is an undeniable tension here in Washington and we are not immune to it. It has never been harder to be bipartisan and even the simplest requests become complicated by politics far beyond the subject matter at hand. Putting that frustration aside, we continue to believe that our democracy is the greatest in the world and the men and women who are elected to represent their districts and states come with the purpose of making the world a better place. Although we cannot control the news cycle nor the partisan wrangling that confronts us every day, we push forward knowing that the WIPP mission is worth fighting for. 


My wish for this holiday season is a song written in 1955 which asks for peace on earth. As the words so wisely state – it begins with each one of us. 


Let peace begin with me

Let this be the moment now.

With ev'ry step I take

Let this be my solemn vow

To take each moment and live

Each moment in peace eternally

Let there be peace on earth

And let it begin with me 

 

Songwriters: Jill Jackson Miller and Sy Miller 


Tags:  Advocacy 

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Wide-Reaching FAR Rule Touches Every Government Contractor

Posted By Ann Sullivan, WIPP Chief Advocate, Tuesday, November 19, 2019

In the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress directed federal agencies to stop using products and services from six Chinese companies in Section 889 of the bill. Those companies include: Huawei, ZTE Corporation, Hytera Communications Corporation, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company, and Dahua Technology Company. 


Moving quickly, the FAR Council issued an interim final rule, Prohibition on Certain Telecommunications and Video Surveillance Services or Equipment, which became effective on August 13, 2019, and broadly prohibits federal agencies from using telecommunications or surveillance equipment or services from these six companies.

AnnSullivan

Next year, step two, which prohibits any government contractor from using any components or services from these companies is expected to go into effect. Known as Section 889, this action has the potential of impacting all government contractors, large or small—even micropurchases.  


While no one doubts that these companies pose a threat to the nation’s cybersecurity, any government action that affects 139,730 small entities will have wide reaching effects. That was the theme of my participation on a panel at GSA on Section 889. I joined five other panelists to speak about how Section 889 will affect government contractors, especially small businesses.

 

 Think for a minute about complying with this new requirement. For example, do you know who manufacturers your desk phones? Do you know what brand the surveillance equipment in your building? If you travel internationally, do you know the telecom carrier you use in your office or hotel? Replacement of equipment will surely carry a cost, but figuring out usage of any components or services from these six companies will prove to be difficult.


The new FAR rules will not only impact your employees and your physical facility, it will also extend to your workforce comprised of 1099 contractors. A small business owner shared that this new Section 889 requirement could result in her contractors opting out of federal work because the new requirements will be too tough to comply with.


One of my fellow panelists joked that these new requirements will provide full employment to lawyers and compliance experts for years to come. Small businesses will likely need to hire a compliance specialist as well as a specialist to source equipment to stay in compliance with the new rule. One small business stated that it will cost them $10,000 to conduct an audit and provide governance structure, $10,000 for new equipment, and $10,000 to change all of her contracts and educate her 1099s. An audience participant estimated a cost of $150,000 just for new equipment alone.


My greatest concern is that small businesses will not understand the implications of this new requirement until it smacks them in the face—until they don’t qualify for federal work or a prime contractor demands a certification of compliance.  


So, what can the government do to increase awareness among industry about the potential impact of Section 889? First, the government can use small business offices (OSDBUs) and small business specialists to share information about Section 889. Second, GSA can do informational webinars about the impact of the new rule. Third, the government should involve the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) network. And finally, the government should engage organizations, like WIPP to spread the word about the new Section 889 rule.


Staying on top of acquisition policies, like Section 889, directly affects your bottom line. That’s the beauty of WIPP – we are dedicated to keeping you informed and engaged.


Tags:  advocacy  FAR  federal contracting 

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Regulatory Rigmarole: The Devil Is In The Details

Posted By Ann Sullivan, WIPP Chief Advocate, Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Advocacy comes in all forms. While the WIPP Advocacy Team focuses much of our attention on Congressional action, our work with agencies, especially SBA, is every bit as important. Staying vigilant on all fronts is critical to all businesses, large and small. 


As a WIPP Member, you probably already know more than the average person about regulations that impact small business owners – regardless of whether they are proposed, interim-final, or final rules. But, you probably don’t know exactly what that means or how they get to those stages in the first place. 

AnnSullivan

The Process of Rulemaking

 

The first thing to know is that proposed regulations are known as “rules” and the rulemaking process is lengthier than you might expect. When Congress passes a law, the agency then gets to work to implement it. The final product is a new regulation. To get from the passage of a law to a new regulation involves a number of steps by the agencies.  


An agency’s first step is to develop a draft regulation known as a proposed rule. Then, the agency sends the draft to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for review. OIRA is tasked with circulating this regulation among other government agencies, taking into account this feedback. OIRA is a federal office that was created by Congress in 1980. In 1991, an Executive Order directed that the office would formally review all draft proposed and final rules before they were published in the Federal Register.


OIRA makes suggested changes and sends the proposed rule back to the agency. The agency then issues a proposed rule which it publishes on www.regulations.gov for public comment. The comment period is usually open for 60 days, although some only accept comments for 30 days. Comments are not limited to organizations like WIPP – anyone or any entity can provide comments on a proposed rule. 


The agency reviews the public input to revise a final product which typically takes another 60 to 90 days and summarizes its findings and issues a final rule. Done, right? Not quite. The final rule once again goes to OIRA for review – only when this approval process is complete can the new regulation be published as a final rule.


Need more information on the process? Download the SBA’s Office of Advocacy Basic Guideline to Rulemaking and Small Businesses.  


What WIPP Comments On

 

WIPP has commented on a number of important proposed rules on a variety of issues. By commenting on proposed rules, WIPP has the ability to shape the outcome of the regulation. The devil is in the details, so this stage of advocacy is, in many cases, as important as passage of the law. 


In 2019, WIPP submitted comments to SBA on a number of small business contracting rules ranging from the proposed WOSB/EDWOSB certification rule, to the rule implementing the Small Business Runway Extension Act. WIPP also submitted comments to the Department of Defense (DoD) on its proposed Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification—a far-reaching cyber certification, which will affect every federal contractor and subcontractor.


Just last month, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council recently proposed an interim final rule that will amend the FAR to prohibit the federal government from procuring or obtaining, or extending or renewing a contract to procure or obtain, “any equipment, system, or service that uses covered telecommunications equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system” in order to combat the national security and intellectual property threats that face the United States. 


WIPP recognized the wide-reaching importance of this rule and jointly submitted comments in response. It is important to note that the interim rule impacts ALL contractors — not just those that offer information and communication technology. Each contractor is responsible for determining whether telecommunications equipment and services will be provided under both new and existing contracts and orders. 


Learn more about FAR Council


Take Action Now


As we noted in our Advocacy Update last month, the FAR Council has issued a proposed rule to avoid using Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) source selection criteria in circumstances that would deny the government the benefits of cost and technical tradeoffs in the source selection process. LPTA has been a long-hated acquisition pricing policy in the small business community. This rule specifically states that LPTA source selection criteria should be avoided for procurements for IT services, cyber security, systems engineering services, and others. 


Submit a comment on this proposed rule by December 2, 2019


Note: One part of the regulatory process to note— when the FAR Council issues a proposed rule it is listed with a “FAR Case” number instead of a “Regulatory Identification Number” (RIN).


It’s tough to keep up with everything as a small business – I know – I am one. That’s why membership in WIPP is critical to your bottom line – we follow and initiate the actions important to women-owned businesses.


Tags:  Advocacy  FAR  regulatory 

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Advocacy Update: FAR Council Rules That Matter To Your Business

Posted By Elizabeth Sullivan, WIPP Advocacy Team, Wednesday, October 16, 2019


This New FAR Council Rule on Covered Telecommunication Equipment Will Impact Your Business, Even Outside of the Tech Industry

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council has proposed an interim final rule that will amend the FAR to prohibit the Federal Government from procuring or obtaining, or extending or renewing a contract to procure or obtain, “any equipment, system, or service that uses covered telecommunications equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system” in order to combat the national security and intellectual property threats that face the United States. The definition of “covered telecommunications equipment or services” are components from: Huawei, ZTE Corporation, Hytera Communications Corporation, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company, and Dahua Technology Company.  


For all businesses, the rule:

  • Prohibits contractors from providing covered telecommunications equipment or services unless the agency confirms that an exception applies or a waiver is granted 
  • Requires every offeror for a contract or order to represent whether or not it will provide covered telecommunications equipment or services as part of its offer and, if so, to furnish additional detail about the covered equipment or services 
  • Mandates that contractors report any covered equipment or services if discovered during the course of contract performance 

WIPP recognized the importance of this rule and the impact it will have on small business federal contractors. Read WIPP’s comments on this rule.
 

Proposed Rule on Lowest Price Technically Acceptable Source Selection Process (LPTA) from FAR Council Discourages Use of Practice Across Government

Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) has been a long hated acquisition pricing policy in the small business community. Seen as a “race to the bottom,” the FAR Council has issued a proposed rule to avoid using Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) source selection criteria in circumstances that would deny the Government the benefits of cost and technical tradeoffs in the source selection process. This rule also states specifically that LPTA source selection criteria should be avoided for procurements for IT services, cyber security, systems engineering services, and others.

 

Think this is a good idea?

 

Comment on this rule by December 2, 2019

 

Tags:  Advocacy  Federal Procurement  policy 

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Action Alert: Ask Your Legislators to Co-Sponsor Equity Bill

Posted By WIPP Advocacy Team, Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, October 8, 2019

If a woman-owned firm wants to obtain a Small Business Administration (SBA) certification to participate in the Woman-Owned Small Business/Economically Disadvantaged Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB/EDWOSB) procurement program, she would not be able to obtain equity or venture capital funding.

This choice essentially forces women business owners to choose between participating in the federal marketplace through the WOSB/EDWOSB program or growing their business.

Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced the Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019 (S. 1981), which would allow women-owned contracting firms to take investment by women-owned equity firms and still meet the “51% unconditionally owned and controlled” standard set by SBA to participate in the WOSB/EDWOSB program.


Representative Robin Kelly (D-IL) introduced an identical bill in the House (H.R. 3633). The same barriers apply to minority-owned businesses and these bills also allow minority-owned federal contracting firms to take investment by minority-owned equity firms.

WIPPActionAlert Access to capital continues to be an ongoing challenge for women business owners. This groundbreaking legislation would open a path for investment in women-owned businesses who are government contractors, while also strengthening the role of women investors – giving them a reason to ask for greater equity positions within their firms. 

WIPP asks you to meet, call, or write your elected officials and ask them to support and co-sponsor the Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019.

Your Action Steps:

 


 

Call Your Legislators

If You Are Calling Your Senators:  

Reach the Congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121. Ask to be connected to the Senator’s office you are trying to reach.

 

Use this sample script:

 

“Hello. My name is ____________ and I am a constituent living in ____________. I am calling to urge Senator ____________ to support S.1981, the Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019. This bill would allow women-owned federal contracting firms to accept investment by women-owned equity firms.

 

As a woman entrepreneur, this change will not only help me grow my business, but will empower women investors by continuing to spur growth for women-owned equity firms.

 

Again, I urge Senator _____________ to expand venture capital access for women and minority business owners by co-sponsoring S.1981, the Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019.”

 

If You Are Calling Your Representative: 

Reach the Congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121. Ask to be connected to the Representative’s office you are trying to reach.

 

Use this sample script:

 

“Hello. My name is ____________ and I am a constituent living in ____________. I am calling to urge Representative ____________ to support H.R. 3633, the Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019. This bill would allow women-owned federal contracting firms to accept investment by women-owned equity firms.

 

As a woman entrepreneur, this change will not only help me grow my business, but will empower women investors by continuing to spur growth for women-owned equity firms.

 

Again, I urge Representative _____________ to expand venture capital access for women and minority business owners by co-sponsoring H.R. 3633, the Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019.”

 

 


 

Write Your Legislators 

If You Are Writing Your Senators:

Reach your Senators via email through a form on their website under “Contact.”

 

Use this suggested language:

 

Dear Senator ______,

 

My name is ____________ and I am a constituent living in ____________. I am writing to urge you to support S.1981, the Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019. This bill would allow women-owned federal contracting firms to take investment by women-owned equity firms.

 

As a woman entrepreneur, this change will not only help me grow my business, but it will strengthen the role of women investors – giving them a reason to ask for greater equity positions within their firms.

 

Please support expanding venture capital access for women and minority business owners by co-sponsoring S.1981, the Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

 

Sincerely,

_______

 

If You Are Writing Your Representative: 

Reach your Representative via email through a form on their website under “Contact.”

 

Use this suggested language:

 

Dear Representative ______,

 

My name is ____________ and I am a constituent living in ____________. I am writing to urge you to support H.R. 3633, the Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019. This bill would allow women-owned federal contracting firms to take investment by women-owned equity firms.

 

As a woman entrepreneur, this change will not only help me grow my business, but it will strengthen the role of women investors – giving them a reason to ask for greater equity positions within their firms.

 

Please support expanding venture capital access for women and minority business owners by co-sponsoring H.R. 3633, the Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

 

Sincerely,

_______

 

Tags:  Access to Capital  Action Alert  Advocacy 

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President's Message: Our Position Is Always As Your Resource

Posted By Candace Waterman, WIPP President & CEO, Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Last week I traveled from Michigan to Louisiana to New Mexico, presenting multiple workshops covering everything from advocacy training, building capacity, and parity for women-owned businesses in the federal government.

Candace Waterman (middle) stands with WBENC RPO leaders Dr. Pamela Williamson (WBEC-West) and Michelle Richards (GLWBC) I met many leaders and spoke with WIPP members across the nation who are wondering what will happen when Congress returns from recess next week. Specifically, what the impeachment proceedings could mean for our advocacy work. Understanding how things happen on Capitol Hill has never been more important, and WIPP has almost 20 years of relationships and experience in the halls of Congress. Our position will always be as your nonpartisan resource -- first and foremost.

I encourage WIPP Members to read Ann Sullivan's column this month and to join the Advocacy Team on their monthly Policy Update webinar next Wednesday, October 9 to learn about where we are on our WIPP Policy Priorities, including key legislation and appropriations as well as understanding the impeachment proceedings.

This month, we are working on bringing our resources to bear for members and the wider audience of women-owned businesses across the nation:

Access

October is National Women’s Small Business Month (#NWSBM) and we are thrilled to once again partner with the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) to showcase the landscape of certified WOSB/WBE women leaders. 

Each October, I love to remind our WIPP Members to check their status and their online profile. More than any other month, October is the time to ensure your WIPP Membership is updated and ensures we have the opportunity to highlight your company with our agency partners and the larger community. Not sure if you’re a member? Check your profile here.

Advocacy 

October is also National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (#BeCyberSafe), and we have been closely monitoring this topic in the federal contracting space. WIPP submitted comments last week on a draft of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), which would be mandatory in 2020 for every supplier and contractor working with the Department of Defense. Learn more.

We continue to work on moving The Women and Minority Equity Investment Act of 2019 through the Senate Small Business Committee as well as garnering more sponsors in for the companion House bill. 

And once again, I want you to know that WIPP is a national nonpartisan organization, and we approach all issues in a bipartisan manner. Our members identify along all varieties of political persuasion, but we all speak one language: Business.  

Education 

We have three WIPP member webinars this month:

I’m thrilled that we are at capacity for the ChallengeHER event on October 24 in Washington, D.C., but we still have room at the San Diego event on October 29. We also announced our ChallengeHER opportunities with American Express ® Contract Connections on November 14 and December 11. Learn more at ChallengeHER.us. 

Earlier this week, I read the 2019 State of Women-Owned Business Report, commissioned by American Express, and found that “between 2014 and 2019, the number of women-owned businesses climbed 21% to a total of nearly 13 million (12,943,400). Employment grew by 8% to 9.4 million. Revenue rose 21% to $1.9 trillion.”

Having built a career on the innate knowledge that women business owners are an unstoppable force, this statistic is encouraging. WIPP has been part of the fight to get seats at the table; we have forged alliances and partnerships; and we are now economically more visible than ever before. Thank you to our members, sponsors, and partners for continuing to support this mission! 

 

Tags:  Access  Advocacy  Education 

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Crisis Averted – At Least for Now

Posted By Ann Sullivan, WIPP Chief Advocate, Tuesday, October 1, 2019

October 1 marks a new fiscal year, FY2020, and the government will continue to be funded until November 21. Congress sent the continuing resolution (CR) to the President last Friday, who signed the bill into law before the September 30 deadline.

 

AnnSullivan

It is significant that during September, the Congress and the President agreed to two additional steps to bring stability to the budget process. Legislation to suspend the federal debt ceiling and set government spending levels for two years addressed issues that have proven to be problematic in the past. Budget bills, such as these, have provided opportunities for legislators and Presidents to hold government spending hostage to their demands. That’s not to say the demands don’t hold merit but shutting down the government is not without consequences.

 

Thirty-five days in length, the last government shutdown in January-February 2019 wreaked havoc on small federal contractors. According to a report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, The True Cost of Government Shutdowns, the last three shutdowns in cost taxpayers $4 billion—at least $3.7 billion of it in back pay to furloughed federal workers and $338 million in other costs such as lost revenue.

 

A statistic that government contractors certainly felt was the Congressional Budget Office estimate that the most recent shutdown delayed approximately $18 billion in federal spending for compensation and purchases of goods and services. Legislation was introduced this year to require compensation to low-wage workers employed by government contractors, including the Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act in the House and the Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act in the Senate. Although these efforts have yet to gain traction, it is a move applauded by many government contractors.

 

The angst that builds in Washington around the end of the fiscal year is justified. Even though our members have strategies in place to weather a shutdown storm, a government shutdown affects everyone in the supply chain. In addition to requiring contract modifications to keep providing services during a CR, it also delays grant awards and new projects.

 

There’s a whole new wrinkle in completion of federal funding for FY2020 that expires on November 21 – impeachment proceedings. Decisions on where the money is spent in the federal government is a key responsibility of the Congress, but it requires the President’s signature. Putting aside partisan wrangling is a requirement for getting this funding passed. Appropriations bills are determined by the Appropriations Committees in the House and the Senate. Since Democrats are in control of the House but Republicans are in control of the Senate, getting these bills to the finish line requires bipartisan cooperation. And, the President has to be willing to sign the legislation.

Senate appropriators say they can “walk and chew gum” at the same time, and have expressed their intentions to keep working to complete their work despite the impeachment proceedings.

 

Learn more about the implications of the impeachment process.

WIPP Members can join us on Wednesday, October 9 for the October Policy Update webinar.  

 

There is precedent for taking care of normal legislative matters while at the same time pursuing a major matter such as impeachment. In 1998 in the midst of then-President Bill Clinton’s pending impeachment investigation by the House, Clinton signed all of that year’s appropriations bills.

 

Where does this leave government contractors? Feeling pleased about averting a government shutdown until November 21, but cautiously optimistic about federal funding for FY2020 after November 21. Here’s where your advocacy comes in. Contact your Congressional delegation urging them to complete the appropriations process. Congress will need lots of encouragement by its constituents to stay the course and complete their work. The small business contracting community can ill afford another shutdown.

Tags:  Advocacy  Appropriations 

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Advocacy Update: Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC)

Posted By Advocacy Team, Friday, September 27, 2019

As reported by Bloomberg Government, the Defense Department sought comments this month on a draft of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), which would be mandatory in 2020 for every supplier and contractor working with the department. 


WIPP submitted comments on Wednesday, September 25 reiterating that this certification process could be cost prohibitive and restrictive to small businesses. Thank you to cyber expert Angela Dingle, WIPP Board Chair and President & CEO of Ex Nihilo Management, for providing critical input. 

 

Read the full comment letter.

 

 

 

Tags:  Advocacy  cybersecurity 

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2/12/2020
WIPP Policy Update - February 2020

2/18/2020
WEP Training - The Ugly Truth About CMMC

3/11/2020
WIPP Policy Update - March 2020

4/8/2020
WIPP Policy Update - April 2020

5/13/2020
WIPP Policy Update - May 2020

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