President Signs Omnibus Funding Bill with IIBEC Language Protecting Brooks Act

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March 16, 2022

On March 15, 2022, President Joe Biden signed into law the $1.5 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022, funding the government for the rest of the fiscal year. Also included in the bill is $13.6 billion to provide emergency assistance to Ukraine and NATO allies. The funding bill arrived five-and-a-half months late, in part due to the Senate being divided 50–50. Nevertheless, the final product passed Congress with broad support from both sides.

Included along with the bill was report language inserted at the request of Rep. David Price (D-NC) and championed by IIBEC that seeks to protect the Brooks Act from abuse in the General Services Administration (GSA) multiple award schedules—the process used by the government to contract with commercial companies for goods and services.

The language reads:

Brooks Act.—GSA is directed to not award or facilitate the award of any contract for the provision of architectural, engineering, and related services in a manner inconsistent with the procedures in the Brooks Act (40 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.) and part 36.6 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

IIBEC appreciates the efforts of Price and his staff to again work with us to include this language in the committee report that accompanies the funding bill. Brian Pallasch, IIBEC’s chief executive officer and executive vice president, said, “Congressman Price is to be commended for his years of service making sure the government uses funds wisely, properly, and according to the law. His efforts to again include this language are an example of his commitment to the taxpayers of this nation.”

The Brooks Act is the name for the provisions in law that require the federal government to use the qualifications based selection (QBS) process for the acquisition of architectural, engineering, and design services. All the states either have Mini-Brooks laws or use a process that closely resembles QBS within their state procurement systems. IIBEC considers QBS to be a cornerstone policy and has fought attempts to undermine QBS in the states, most recently by asking a West Virginia legislative committee to outright dismiss a bill that seeks to undermine the state’s QBS process.

The next step is for IIBEC to consult with Price’s office and allied groups, notably the Council on the Federal Procurement of Architectural and Engineering Services, before meeting with GSA to discuss how it can best meet the intent of the language and ensure the QBS process is not circumvented by companies using the schedule.