Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors
June 25, 2018

The Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization (NDAA) bill was enacted on December 12, 2017 (PL 115-91). The provisions included in Sec. 846 (“Procurement Through Commercial E-Commerce Portals”) restructured the process by which Federal agencies acquire more than $50 billion in commercial off the shelf (COTS) products annually.  The General Services Administration (GSA) is directed to establish a program for their procurement through commercial online e-commerce portals.  GSA is to “carry out the program … through multiple contracts with multiple e-commerce portal providers …” Implementation of the program is to occur in three phases over a period of two years and three months, with Phase I occupying the first 90 day period.

On March 15, 2018, the GSA Phase I implementation report included legislative language proposing statutory changes to the provisions of Sec. 846. The members of the NAW COTS Online Procurement Working Group, initially organized in the spring of 2017 to address this issue, evaluated the GSA Phase I report and the legislative language accompanying it.  An effort to enact the GSA-proposed legislative changes was expected to be undertaken in conjunction with Congressional consideration of the FY 2019 NDAA.

In the House-passed FY 2019 NDAA, Sec. 834 increased the micro-purchase threshold for procurements through a commercial e-commerce portal to $25,000.  It also provided the Administrator of the GSA with new discretionary authority with respect to the satisfaction of current law competitive requirements.

In the Senate, Democratic Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL) introduced an amendment to the FY 2019 NDAA on behalf of his home-state colleague, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). In addition to Sec. 834 in the House version, his amendment would have authorized the GSA to integrate its Multiple Awards Schedule (indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) long term agreements) into Section 846’s e-commerce model.

In response, NAW sent a letter to the Members of the Senate expressing opposition to the Durbin amendment stating that the amendment removes policy and procurement integrity responsibilities representing significant private sector investment.  In the end, the Durbin amendment was not included in the Senate passed FY 2019 NDAA.  A Conference Committee to resolve the differences between the House and Senate bill is expected later this summer.

Click Here to view NAW’s letter to the Senate.

GSA is now just three months into Phase II of a three-phase process for the implementation of the Procurement Through Commercial e-Commerce Portals program. Further legislative action affecting the e-commerce portals program should await the completion of this work and review by the Congress.

The NAW-led working group will remain “in business” throughout the legislative and implementation process.