Government Contracting

GAO Reviews Bid Protests

GAO Reviews Bid Protests July 06, 2017

General Accountability Office Reviews
Bid Protests During Lapse


Recently, the General Accountability Office’s jurisdiction lapsed when a sunset provision that was established by the National Defense Authorization Act took effect. The lapse in jurisdiction ended when President Obama signed the General Accountability Office Civilian Task and Delivery Order Protest Authority Act into law and removed the sunset provision. The General Accountability Office is now tasked with determining how to respond to protests that occurred during the lapse in judgment. In two recent opinions, the Government Accountability Office declined to reconsider bid protests that the Office dismissed during its recent lapse in its jurisdiction. In another opinion, the General Accountability Office denied a protest filed for the first time following reinstatement of jurisdiction. There are many essential elements for individuals to understand concerning how a bid protest is made.


The Parties That Can File Bid Protests

A General Accountability Office protest must be filed an “interested” party which refers to an actual or prospective offeror with a direct economic interest in a contract that is offered by a federal government agency. To be classified as “interested”, a party must have a recognized stake in the contract offered by the federal government. In a significant number of cases, the success of a bid protest depends on when the award process arises. In cases where an objection is raised before a bid opening, an interested party is simply a contract that has expressed an interest in competing for the contract. After a bid opens, a contract must be “next in line” for the award of the government’s contract to be considered an interested problem. A more direct way to think about a party’s status as interested in is the protest is successful then the individual will be awarded the contract.

How the Bid Protest Process Works

The General Accountability Office will assign a General Accountability Office attorney to a bid protest. This lawyer will read an individual’s bid protest make the decision to deny, dismiss, or sustain the claim. This legal counsel will also be involved in the administration of the protest by resolving any administrative issues that might throughout the process.

The Elements of Bid Protests

Bid protests often challenge defects or errors by the government in connection with the award of a federal contract. Protests often must allege that the government violated a specific rule or regulation but the General Accountability Office will also consider protests based on the government’s “unreasonable” actions during the administration of a contract award. Additionally, protests can challenge potential defects in the written solicitation issued by the government. There are some other kinds of protests that the General Accountability Office will not consider including debarment and suspension matters, determinations of small business size, subcontractor protests, and talk and delivery orders.

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