ASA Urges Delay in President Biden’s COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors
This week, ASA, along with the Construction Industry Procurement Coalition (CIPC), sent a letter to the White House’s Coronavirus Response Coordinator & Counselor to the President of the United States, Jeffrey Zients, requesting a delay in the implementation of the Executive Order (E.O.) 14042, “Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors.” In the letter, CIPC supports the goal of the President Biden’s policy and agree that vaccinations are essential to the controlling the spread of the virus, saving lives, and restoring a sense of normalcy to society and the economy; however, “we are concerned that the timeline and elements of the policy will undercut the ability of the businesses we represent to support the critical needs of our federal agency clients and the taxpayers they serve. These critical services include the maintenance, design and construction of critical infrastructure, operations of national laboratories, preserving the world’s preeminent defense industrial base, as well as providing essential cybersecurity services. We believe that we can achieve the goals of the President’s policy in a manner that would limit disruptions in the essential work we perform for our federal clients.” The letter requests the delay to allow for the implementation of the following recommendations:
- Include the option of testing for non-vaccinated employees.
- Include the option of accepting antibodies for those who have recovered from Covid.
- Ensure consistent enforcement across agencies. To this end, agencies such as the General Services Administration (GSA) are including vaccination requirements in other contracts that are not required to be covered by E.O. 14042, such as applying the mandate to contracts below the Simplified Acquisition Threshold. The chilling effect coupled with the significant uncertainty that this creates for many businesses further erodes the partnership between the private sector and their federal clients.