October 14, 2017 The Procurement Lawyer

CICA's Uncle Sam Exception

by Michael J. Davidson

Michael J. Davidson is an attorney with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He previously served with the Department of the Treasury and as an Army Judge Advocate. Any opinions are those of the author and do not reflect the position of any federal agency.

The Competition in Contracting Act (CICA)1 requires “full and open competition” for federal procurements unless a statutory exception applies. Significantly for purposes of this article, CICA states that its open competition requirements do not apply when “a statute expressly authorizes or requires that the procurement be made through another [executive] agency or from a specified source.”2 The exceptions “contained in other procurement statutes ‘are separate and distinct routes which an agency may pursue without compliance with the full and open competition requirement.’”3 Congress has enacted several such statutes that, in effect, authorize the federal government to contract with itself, or other governmental entities, for goods and services without competing the procurement within the commercial marketplace. The most common statutory exception to CICA’s competition requirement is the Economy Act, but lesser-known exceptions include the Government Management Reform Act, certain revolving funds, and statutes authorizing Intergovernmental Service or Support Agreements.

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