Councils set emergency procurement provisions

The Federal Acquisition Regulations councils today raised the micropurchase and simplified acquisition thresholds for agencies responding to or in defense of nuclear, biological, chemical or radiological attack.

The councils published an interim rule with a request for comments in the Federal Register, implementing the emergency acquisition provision in the Services Acquisition Reform Act of 2003. The interim rule takes effect today, and the councils will accept comments until April 23.

The new rule would let agencies spend up to $15,000 for supplies or services in emergencies under the micropurchase threshold, and $2,000 in nonemergency situations. Feds can use the simplified acquisition procedures for emergency purchases up to $250,000 in the United States and $500,000 outside the country. The simplified threshold for nonemergency purchases remains at $100,000.

'Purchases using this authority must have a clear and direct relationship to the support of a contingency operation or the defense against or recovery from nuclear, biological, chemical or radiological attack,' the notice said.

Contracting officers still must set aside procurements under the simplified acquisition threshold for small businesses, unless they determine there aren't at least two that can fulfill the requirement.

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