On April 28, 2016 the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee adopted an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (the “Amendment”), which would exempt federal defense contractors from compliance with President Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order (the “Order”). Since being issued on July 31, 2014, the Order has caused a stir within the federal contractor community, largely due to the burdens that it, and its proposed regulations, seek to impose on federal contractors. Some of our previous posts on the Order can be found here, here, and here.
The Amendment states that the provisions of the Order “and any implementing rules or regulations shall not apply to the acquisition, contracting, contract administration, source selection, or any other activities of the Department of Defense or National Nuclear Security Administration.” The Amendment further prohibits the Secretary of Defense, and other administrators, from requiring compliance with and/or implementing any portion of the Order or its regulations.
The Amendment, if ultimately adopted and passed by the House and Senate, and then signed by the President – which is unlikely – would be a major blow to the Order, as the Department of Defense accounts for approximately two-thirds of federal contracts. Whether or not the Amendment eventually becomes law, it is clear that the Order has galvanized both its proponents and opponents. We expect this to be just one of many more political and legal skirmishes to come over the Order and its implementing regulations.