abril 23 2024

Senate Bill Would Require Several Important Updates to the Way the US Federal Government Acquires Technology


A bipartisan bill introduced in the US Senate would mandate updates to federal procurement regulations and procedures for the acquisition of technology. S.4066, the Federal Improvement in Technology Procurement Act (FIT Procurement Act), was introduced in the Senate late last month by Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Ted Cruz (R-TX). Noting the shrinking number of federal contractors awarded contracts, the bill aims to streamline the procurement process to allow more companies to enter the federal marketplace for innovative technology solutions.  

FIT Procurement Act – Key Provisions

If enacted, the FIT Procurement Act would make a number of important changes to the current procurement system:

  • Advance Purchase of Cloud Computing: The bill would amend federal law to allow agencies to acquire cloud computing, data center solutions and services, and other information and communications technology on a subscription basis.
  • Commercial Solutions Openings: The bill would give the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) permanent authority to use the innovative competitive acquisition process known as Commercial Solutions Openings (CSOs). Unlike traditional competition requirements, these procedures are more streamlined and flexible.1
  • Simplified Acquisition Threshold: The bill would raise the simplified acquisition threshold (SAT) from $250,000 to $500,000. This would allow a greater number of procurements to be conducted under the simplified acquisition procedures set forth in Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) part 13.
  • Past Performance Information: The bill would allow bidders in federal procurements to submit information related to their performance on commercial or non-government projects as relevant past performance.  
  • Best-Value: The bill would require GSA multiple-award contract vehicles to prioritize the use of best-value source selection procedures rather than focusing on lowest cost.
  • Training for Federal Buyers: The bill would also establish requirements for federal contracting personnel to receive specialized training on the acquisition of emerging technology, such as artificial technology.

Important Considerations for Federal Contractors

The proposed legislation could give the federal government flexibility when procuring cutting-edge technologies. In turn, this added flexibility would reduce barriers for new and small businesses that may be reluctant to offer their solutions to the government for fear of red tape. The FIT Procurement Act could also benefit traditional government contractors that offer technology solutions—specifically the provisions related to the advance purchase of cloud computing and the increased use of flexible CSO procedures. 

Both established and aspiring federal contractors should follow any developments on the bill. The bipartisan nature of the FIT Procurement Act suggests there is congressional support for improving the federal procurement process—especially when acquiring technology—by eliminating unnecessary obstacles. Given that Senator Peters is the chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, this bill could become a priority of the committee and be expedited for consideration in the Senate.


1 In a previous Legal Update, we discussed CSO procedures in more detail. 

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