Trends Government Contractors Should Watch During the Biden-Harris Administration
When President-elect Joe Biden took the stage in January and recited the oath of office, he became the 46th president of the United States. With the inauguration comes not only a new president and vice president, but a new administration. This means that policy priorities and spending habits may change, and as a result, so will the government marketplace.
While some experts say government contracting funding won’t change much during the Biden-Harris Administration, there will still be inevitable changes in the procurement habits of government agencies. Let’s take a look at what we've seen so far during Biden's first 2 months in office.
Executive Orders Signed by the Biden-Harris Administration
While it’s important to examine trends that will play out over Biden’s presidency, you should also keep an eye on executive actions put forth by the administration. For the short time he has been in office, Biden has signed 34 executive orders which is significantly more than past administrations. The orders include everything from climate change, to worker's health, racial equity, immigration, the supply chain, and student loans.
We selected 4 policies to highlight that could directly impact contractors:
Biden intends to invest a lot of money into testing and testing sites, vaccine distribution, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). So far, the administration has signed executive orders on expanding access to COVID-19 testing and treatments, strengthening the public health supply chain, creating more leadership in the COVID-19 response, and collecting more data.
This means that government agencies, both federal as well as state and local entities through the Disaster Purchasing Program, will be looking to procure more COVID-19 relief solutions, and channel money into future research projects.
The economy really took a hit with the COVID-19 pandemic. To help rebuild the economy, the Biden-Harris Administration wants to provide federal, local, state, and tribal governments with financial aid so they all can have access to critical resources.
In the American Rescue plan, the administration intends to allocate $1.9 trillion for economic relief, the pandemic response, and community support like small businesses, public transit, and local entities like first responders.
This means that through Cooperative and Disaster Purchasing, as well as other state and local contract vehicles, government agencies and educational institutions will have more funds to procure solutions from government contractors to help them continue their work and fight the pandemic.
The Biden-Harris Administration’s actions to fight the climate crisis includes buzzwords like infrastructure, jobs, and innovation. These are key words in the government marketplace because they could mean an increase in new industries which will require more products and labor from government contractors.
Biden signed several climate change executive actions in late January. These included putting the U.S. back in the Paris Agreement on climate change, making climate policy integral to national security, and electrifying the government's vehicles.
As a government contractor, you should keep an eye on contract opportunities including Requests for Information (RFIs), Request for Proposals (RFPs) and Request for Quotes (RFQs) in the auto, transportation, energy, and agriculture sectors.
Rebuilding the Supply Chain and Focusing on American-Made Solutions
In his first week in office, Biden signed an executive order to strengthen the 'Buy American Act.' During his administration, Biden wants to build a strong U.S. industrial base and small business-led supply chains.
In this order, Biden wants to ensure the federal government spends more taxpayer dollars on American made goods and services. To do this, he intends to close loopholes in federal procurement, create more accountability in 'Buy American' policies, and revise the threshold for the amount of content that needs to be made in the U.S.
Biden's long-term goal is to expand the domestic supply chain including clean energy, telecommunication infrastructure, raw materials, and advanced technologies.
Trends to Watch for During the Biden-Harris Administration
While Biden has several policies he wants to work on immediately but there are some initiatives that will need to develop over time. We have done some research into Biden’s future plans as president, so here are some notable trends we think are important for government contractors to watch out for.
Small Business Prioritization
The federal government values small business participation in government contracting. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has several resources and set-aside programs to help small business contractors find opportunities to offer their solutions to the government.
Recently, GSA has been focusing on creating even more opportunities for small businesses, like the creation of Polaris, a small business IT Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) which has an emphasis on economically disadvantaged and Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB).
The Biden-Harris administration has already made some changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which is an SBA-backed loan to help small businesses keep their workforce employed during the current economic crisis.
This plan would expand the SBA’s small business development program and require prime contractors to increase subcontracting opportunities for small-disadvantaged businesses.
IT and Cybersecurity Spending
The recent SolarWinds cyberattack showed that our federal government and its counterparts need to step up their cybersecurity protocol to prevent future breaches. The Biden-Harris Administration wants Congress to approve a spending plan that would allocate more than $10 billion for IT and cybersecurity initiatives. The plan has not been passed yet, but the administration is working for its approval.
One part of the plan is to give a direct award to GSA and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) to improve cybersecurity shared services. The Biden-Harris Administration also wants to allocate an additional $690 million for CISA to strengthen cybersecurity across federal civilian networks and pilot a new shared security and cloud computing services.
With this sizeable investment in IT and cybersecurity, government agencies will certainly be releasing solicitations and looking to procure the best solutions to fulfill these initiatives. That being said, you'll want to make sure your company is up to date on all the cybersecurity requirements for government contractors so you are ready to respond to these contracting opportunities and you are remaining compliant with your GSA Schedule.
What Should Government Contractors Do to Be Prepared?
As a GSA Schedule contractor you need to make sure you are performing federal market research and targeting the right agencies. Priorities and spending will shift over the next 4 years, and you’ll want to make sure your company is seen as a valuable solutions provider.
You may be wondering how you elevate your company’s solutions in the federal marketplace. Some ways to do this include:
- Modify your Capabilities Statement: make sure it is up to date and reflects core competencies and key differentiators that the new administration is looking for.
- Keep your GSA Advantage! Catalog updated: Keeping this information updated will help government agencies find your company when they are searching for solutions.
- Monitor Contract Opportunities: Check SAM.gov and GSA eBuy for current opportunities.
- Check Forecasted Opportunities: You can look at contract forecast opportunities on Acquisition Gateway to get ahead of the solicitations.
It’s important you are anticipating government agencies’ needs as the administration changes. If you consistently monitor the Biden-Harris Administration’s plans and policies you will have a better idea of how to market your company and target certain agencies.
If you want to learn more about selling to the government or responding to contracting opportunities, check out our blogs “Selling to the Government: 5 Tips to Increase Your Government Sales” and “Everything You Need to Know About a Government Solicitation.”
If you have any questions about your GSA Schedule contract, please reach out to one of our consultants.
About Stephanie Hagan
Stephanie Hagan is the Content Writer and Digital Editor for Winvale where she helps the marketing department continue to develop and distribute GSA and government contracting content. Stephanie grew up in Sarasota, Florida, and earned her Bachelor's of Arts in Journalism and Rhetoric/Communications from the University of Richmond.