The GSA’s (General Services Administration) decision to trim the 8(a) STARS II contract vehicle’s length by two years has created tension with small business interests and prompted a joint letter from both Congressional and Senate representatives.
As noted in a previous EZGovOpps article, the GSA acted to increase the ceiling of STARS II from $15 billion to $22 billion to provide extra bandwidth for agencies to quickly respond to COVID-19 requirements by leveraging the vehicle. Much to some small business’ chagrin, however, is the GSA’s decision to change the end date for STARS II from August 30, 2024 to June 30, 2022. This limits new task orders to just two years if they were awarded before July 1, 2020, and future task orders now must be less than two years.
The Justification and Approval document went out July 9th, and the abrupt modification notice for the period of performance change didn’t go out until the 26th, which required contract holders to sign by the 30th should they wish to continue to be able to accept new STARS II work. The need for such an immediate response was somewhat unusual and confusing for contract holders.
Both Senate and Congressional representatives have written to GSA Administrator Emily Murphy and SBA (Small Business Administration) Administrator Jovita Carranza requesting clarification why the period of performance needed to be shortened. Included on the letter are Democratic Congressional Representatives Donald Beyer Jr., Gerry Connolly, Ben McAdams, and Jennifer Wexton, as well as Senate Democrats Tim Kaine and Mark Warner.
The GSA provided some clarity via Zoom that it wanted to limit the work that companies who have graduated from the 8(a) Program could receive. This would prevent these graduated companies from taking away work from new 8(a) companies that will be on the new STARS III vehicle. Only a small percentage of the companies on STARS II are eligible for STARS III because nearly 80% of the 787 companies on STARS II have graduated from the 8(a) Program.
The formal letter to the GSA requires a response by August 14th, so we will hopefully have some additional information by then. To learn more about STARS II, top awardees and to keep up to date on new developments, please sign into your EZGovOpps account and visit this page, or get started with a 5-day Trial.
Brief Current Overview of 8(a) STARS III
The 8(a) STARS III solicitation entered the Sources Sought stage on August 9, 2020. The contract has a $20-billion ceiling and a five-year base period with one three-year option, but numerous sources disclose that the contract length will be 10 years. There is a significant eligibility factor in STARS III draft posting that requires $1 million in past performance for each functional area as defined in the current release. In addition, the proposing firm isn’t allowed to use a past performance contract in more than one functional area and the project must have been performed in the last two years or be ongoing with at least one year completed.
Chart for current 8(a) STARS II top awardees by obligated spend: