PF 2020-19 Emergency Acquisition Flexibilities for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

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DATE: March 24, 2020

SUBJECT: Emergency Acquisition Flexibilities for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

TO: HCAs/Procurement Directors/Contracting Officers
FROM: Director, Contract and Financial Assistance Policy Division, Office of Policy, Office of Acquisition Management

SUMMARY:  

The Department of Energy (DOE) and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Senior Procurement Executives have increased the micro-purchase and simplified acquisition thresholds solely for the purpose of direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency.


The Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) was declared an emergency by the President on March 13, 2020. COVID-19 has also been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020 (see the WHO webpage), and public health emergency by the Secretary of Health and Human Services on January 31, 2020 (see the Public Health Emergency webpage). Accordingly, the emergency acquisition flexibilities listed in FAR Subpart 18.2 are available for use.


Accordingly, the DOE and NNSA SPEs have determined that solely for the direct purpose of the response:

  • The micropurchase threshold is increased to:
    • $20,000 in the case of any contract to be awarded and performed, or purchase to be made, inside the United States, including the acquisition of leasehold interests in real property; and
    • $30,000 in the case of any contract to be awarded and performed, or purchase to be made, outside the United States, including the acquisition of leasehold interests in real property.
  • The simplified acquisition threshold (SAT) is increased to:
    • $750,000 or any contract to be awarded and performed, or purchase to be made, inside the United States, including the acquisition of leasehold interests in real property; and
    • $1.5 million for any contract to be awarded and performed, or purchase to be made, outside the United States, including the acquisition of leasehold interests in real property.
  • The threshold for simplified procedures for certain commercial items, is increased to $13 million (see FAR 13.500(c) and 18.202(d)).
  • The additional flexibilities of FAR subpart 18.2 cannot be used for any other acquisitions, but are specific only to direct response to this emergency.
  • The Davis-Bacon and Service Contract Act (SCA) thresholds are not changed by the use of any of these flexibilities.
  • Existing purchase card limits are not automatically raised through this action. Consistent with the Acquisition Certifications Program Handbook, the Heads of Contracting Activity’s (HCA) decision to increase card holder or Contracting Officer warrant thresholds for an individual must take into consideration the total number of active warrants/card holders, their dollar amounts, and anticipated workload. HCAs should take into account the time limited nature of the current emergency when considering increasing purchase card thresholds for individuals. Such decisions should include a documented determination that there is a valid need for the card holder to possess such authority and that the holder has the necessary skills, knowledge and business acumen to purchase under the new threshold.

Pursuant to the agreement between the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) related to National Interest Actions, GSA has added a new National Interest Action (NIA) Code to the NIA field in the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) as a means of tracking acquisition costs of the multiple Federal agencies involved in the response to COVID-19, an incident of great national interest. The following National Interest Action (NIA) code has been established in FPDS for COVID-19 reporting:

  • Code: P20C
  • Description: COVID-19 2020
  • Start date: 03/13/2020
  • End date: 07/01/2020

This NIA Code will be used strictly for reporting purposes related to COVID-19 and involves the exercise of the emergency authorities identified in Federal Acquisition Regulation 18.2.

Contracting Officer Questions concerning this policy flash should be directed to the Contract and Financial Assistance Policy Division at DOE_oapmpolicy@hq.doe.gov

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