Link: GAO Decision
Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
Disposition: Requests for Reconsideration Denied
Protesters’ requests to reconsider our decision denying their protests are denied where the requests merely express disagreement with the prior decision, reiterate arguments made previously, and raise new arguments that could have been made during the course of the underlying protests.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
Pierce First Medical and Alternative Contracting Enterprises, LLC requested that the GAO reconsider its decision denying their protests against the issuance to Bosma Industries for the Blind, Inc. of purchase orders for medical exam and surgical gloves. The protestors had argued that the agency was required to consider setting aside the procurement for SDVOSBs or VOSBs under the Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act (the VA Act) before purchasing from Bosma under the Javis-Wagner-O’Day (JWOD) Act. The GAO had found that the agency reasonably read the two statutes together to harmonize their mandatory language concerning set-aside preferences for SDVOSB/VOSB firms and AbilityOne firms.
The GAO first noted that protestors requesting reconsideration must show that the prior decision contained errors of either fact or law, or must present information not previously considered that warrants reversal or modification of the decision. The GAO found that neither protestor met this standard, pointing out that the “new” information was available to the protestors at the time they filed their protests but had not been presented to the GAO at that time.
Although the GAO has held that the law requires the VA to consider procurements for SDVOSB or VOSB set-asides before proceeding to procure through other set-aside programs or through full and open competition, there may still be other procurement programs, such as the AbilityOne preference, that permit the VA to procure from non-SDVOSBs or VOSBs instead.