The Democratic Victory and Federal Contracting

It goes without saying that the results of the November election will change federal contracting. The pundits are currently taking a stab at predicting how the game will change. Here are my guesses:

  • The government must still operate and changes will be slow so it's business as usual for the foreseeable future.
  • Overall contracting dollars may shrink slightly but not for at least a year or more. Defense spending will probably decline and civilian spending will likely increase but neither of these changes will be dramatic.
  • In the post-Rumsfeld era, large defense and homeland security contractors may find that some of their plums will vanish.
  • The Democrats will emphasize increased contract oversight. Hearings will be held but true oversight will require more contracting officers and adding staff takes years. Those contractors who grew fat off the Iraq war and Katrina will be targeted. The press refers to them as "high-visibility contractors." If they were smart, these contractors would consider hiring legal counsel.
  • The Democrats are also likely to focus on increasing openness and competition in federal contracting. These are noble objectives but most of the rhetoric is just posturing. Any changes to the system will take new legislation, big dollars, and many years. I hope they accomplish these objectives.
  • Things may improve for small businesses. We may even see some new regulations for medium-sized businesses. Like contracting reforms, changes will require legislation and action by the Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA is not noted for its speed in implementing new regulations so don't hold your breath. I will be writing a lot more about small business regulations in future postings.
  • Congress will place more emphasis on the rights of federal employees and the A-76 outsourcing program may slow down.

In short, do what you have always done. Build customer relationships and sell best value and it will all go away or work out in the long run. They can't survive without us.

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