Carlos Valdivia

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On March 31, 2015, the Interagency Suspension and Debarment Committee (“ISDC”) released its report to Congress detailing federal suspensions and debarment actions for fiscal year 2014. From 2013 to 2014, federal agencies in aggregate increased their use of exclusion actions. The number of persons and entities proposed for debarments jumped from 2,229 to 2,241, and suspensions increased from 887 to 1,009. Even after considering the ISDC’s counting conventions, the numbers show an upward trend in…
On December 17, President Obama announced that he will take steps to normalize relations with Cuba, prompting questions about what this means for an island nation that has existed under a Cold War-era embargo for more than 50 years. The announcement indicates a dramatic shift in U.S. foreign policy toward Cuba, affecting not only diplomatic relations but also U.S.-Cuban economic ties and travel. Mr. Obama, however, carefully pointed out that the shift in U.S. policy…
Back in 2013, we reported that the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) is not required to give veteran-owned small businesses (“VOSBs”) or service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (“SDVOSBs”) preference for all contracts.  In Kingdomware Technologies, Inc. v. United States (“Kingdomware”), the United States Court of Federal Claims accepted the VA practice of purchasing off the Federal Supply Schedule (“FSS”) without first considering set-aside contracts for VOSBs or SDVOBs.  Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for…
In April, the Department of Energy announced a draft loan guarantee solicitation that could make as much as $4 billion in loan guarantees to help commercialize renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. The loan program seeks to promote “technologies that are on the edge of commercial-scale deployment today,” according to Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. The DOE is accepting comments from the public before finalizing the solicitation, but the comment period ends May 27, 2014.…
In March, the Federal Circuit settled a split between the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) and the Court of Federal Claims that focused on the gray area between cooperative agreements and procurement contracts. Siding with the GAO, the appeals court ruled that the Department of Housing and Urban Development could not sidestep federal competition requirements by using cooperative agreements, instead of procurement contracts, to outsource its contract administration services. The ruling provides rare insight on the…
On April 9th, the Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) proposed a rule that would remove certain documentation requirements in connection with Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) license applications. Export nerds are well aware that changing these requirements would go a long way toward streamlining the license application process (which is ridiculous and complicated). As the BIS itself notes, the IC/DV system is the vestigial appendage of a long-defunct Cold War relic. (That is not a…
The Russian Federation and the United States continue to clash over the proposed annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, with the United States adding 20 Russian officials and related persons to its list of sanctioned persons. Some of the persons recently added to the United States’ SDN List were recently sanctioned by the EU, as we have noted earlier this week. Others appear to be novel additions under either the EU or United States’ sanctions…
Tensions continue to mount between the Russian and Ukrainian governments in the wake of a controversial referendum that threatens to expand the borders of the Russian Federation. The results of that Crimean plebiscite show that an estimated 97 percent of voters favor the Russian annexation of Crimea, but the peninsula’s ethnic Tartars boycotted the referendum. Whatever the outcome, the consequences of the vote reach well beyond the Black Sea, and the international community has…
Speaking on Sunday’s talk-show circuit, Secretary of State John Kerry condemned Russia’s military intervention in the Crimea, accusing the Kremlin of invading the Ukraine and violating the UN Charter.  The condemnation echoes calls from Capitol Hill to impose immediate sanctions against Russia, but Putin will likely persist despite such threats.  In the past, Russia ignored international opprobrium when it invaded Georgia in 2008.  And somewhat like the Georgian case, where Moscow had established a…
In December 2013, the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) released its long-awaited final guidance for grants and other Federal non-procurement awards, entitled “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.” See 78 Fed. Reg. 78589. Also referred to as “the Super Circular,” this final guidance is “a key component of a larger Federal effort to more effectively focus Federal resources on improving performance and outcomes while ensuring the financial integrity…