The Committee for Purchase from People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled is a federal agency that administers the JWOD program. (1) The program's "mission is to provide employment opportunities for people who are blind or have other severe disabilities in the manufacture and delivery of products and services to the federal government." (2) When purchasing supplies and services, government buyers must use JWOD as a priority source before buying from Federal Supply Schedules or other commercial sources. (3)
Effective 27 November 2006, the JWOD is now known as AbilityOne. (4) According to a Federal Register notice, the "name of the program is being changed ... to give a stronger, more unified identity to the program and to show a connection between the program name and the abilities of those who are blind or have other severe disabilities." (5) The notice notes that "JWOD" will remain as part of the program name for "at least 18 months," and mentions no changes to the program's mission. (6) There also is no reason for buying agents and their legal advisors to believe that the name change will affect the program's place as a priority in the Federal Acquisition Regulation.
Buy American Act No Longer Applies to Acquisitions of IT Commercial Items
As of 28 September 2006, the FAR "authorizes an exception to the Buy American Act for acquisitions of information technology that are commercial items." (7) When buying "[i]nformation technology that is a commercial item," (8) "the contracting officer may acquire a foreign end product without regard to the restrictions of the Buy American Act." (9) This is significant, as it opens up more sources of commercial IT to government buyers.
(1) See generally The Committee for Purchase from People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled, http://www.abilityone.gov/jwod/index.html (last visited Jan. 22, 2008).
(3) GENERAL SERVS. ADMIN. ET AL., FEDERAL ACQUISITION REG. 8.002(a) (Dec. 2007) [hereinafter FAR]; see also id. at 8.700-716.
(4) Committee for Purchase from People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled, 71 Fed. Reg. 68,492 (Nov. 27, 2006) (codified at 41 C.F.R. pts. 51-1, 51-2, 513, 51-4, 51-6).
(5) Id. (summary)
(6) Id. at 68,493 (supp. info.).
(7) Exception to the Buy American Act for Commercial Information Technology, 71 Fed. Reg. 57,382 (Sept. 28, 2006) (codified at 48 C.F.R. [section] 25.103(e)). The Buy American Act generally requires government purchasers to buy from American sources. Buy American Act, 41 U.S.C. [section] 10a (LEXIS 2008).
(8) FAR, supra note 4, at 25.103(e).
(9) Id. at 25.103.
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|Title Annotation:||Contract and Fiscal Developments of 2007 - the Year in Review|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2008|
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