Senate, House Pass Defense Authorization Bill, Billions in Construction Spending andFederal Contracting Priorities Included

December 18, 2019

On Dec. 17, the Senate passed S. 1790, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020. This compromise legislation overwhelmingly passed the House on Dec. 9 and will now head to the President’s desk for his signature. This measure includes roughly $11.8 billion for military and military family housing construction. While the bill rejected the Administration’s request for more than $7 billion for border wall construction, it did not include earlier provisions that would have barred the reprograming of funds for projects along the southern border. The agreement also did not include controversial provisions surrounding PFAS substances, instead opting for less stringent measures that give direction to EPA and DOD to regulate.

Some other noteworthy provisions included:

  • Sec. 7601-7606: Allows for federal employees to take twelve weeks of paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child.
  • Sec. 864-865: Directs DOD to create an incentive program for contractors to implement qualified training programs and would require military construction contractors to make a good faith effort to have twenty percent of the project workers as qualified apprentices. 
  • Sec. 870: Clarifies that large prime contractors have the ability to receive subcontracting credit for small businesses at lower tiers. AGC of America recently commented on regulatory proposal that this section aims to correct.
  • Sec. 873: Requires federal agencies to pay small business contractors in an accelerated timeframe to fifteen days, instead of thirty days.
  • Sec. 874: Requires contracting officers to provide debriefs for task or delivery orders below $5.5 million, and above the simplified acquisition threshold, on IDIQ contracts.  
  • Sec. 1121-1124: Several provisions that would prohibit federal employers and contractors from asking about the criminal history of job applicants until they receive conditional offers of employment.
  • Sec. 1648: Requires DOD to develop a comprehensive cybersecurity and will require all prime and subcontractors to adhere to those standards. This section is meant to support the new Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification for all DOD acquisitions that AGC of America has previously reported.

AGC will continue to monitor the NDAA as it works its way to the President’s desk.

For more information, contact Jordan Howard at or (703) 837-5368.

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