WASHINGTON – Six leading industry groups representing federal contractors have joined together in asking the Obama Administration to delay its Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule, warning of serious concerns about the government’s unpreparedness to implement the rule and legislative uncertainty that could bring chaos to the $500 billion federal marketplace for goods and services. In a letter released today, the groups ask the government to delay its quickly approaching implementation, which is set to begin on October 25, 2016.
“As we have frequently stated, CODSIA supports balanced policy efforts to ensure that only responsible contractors receive federal contracts,” the letter says, however, “…the government is not prepared to implement this rule; for example, the new portal for reporting ‘violations’ has neither been designed nor established.”
The groups also signal their concern for the legislative uncertainty hanging over the rule, “Considering that both Congressional Defense Authorization bills either prevent application of the rules to DOD (House) or restrict their application to contractors already suspended or debarred (Senate)...the FAR Council should have delayed issuing this final rule at least until Congress either completed these actions or adjourned.”
The proposed rule stems from an executive order (E.O. 13673) issued by President Barack Obama, first released in July 2014 and finalized in August of this year. In announcing the executive order, President Obama noted that the “vast majority” of federal contractors play by the rules and were unlikely to be impacted by it. Given this fact, the groups have questioned why the new sweeping bureaucratic regime is necessary when the government wants to go after a small group of labor offenders.