United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: May 23, 2024

§ 3554.
Decisions on protests
(a)
(1)
To the maximum extent practicable, the Comptroller General shall provide for the inexpensive and expeditious resolution of protests under this subchapter. Except as provided under paragraph (2) of this subsection, the Comptroller General shall issue a final decision concerning a protest within 100 days after the date the protest is submitted to the Comptroller General.
(2)
The Comptroller General shall, by regulation prescribed pursuant to section 3555 of this title, establish an express option for deciding those protests which the Comptroller General determines suitable for resolution within 65 days after the date the protest is submitted.
(3)
An amendment to a protest that adds a new ground of protest, if timely made, should be resolved, to the maximum extent practicable, within the time limit established under paragraph (1) of this subsection for final decision of the initial protest. If an amended protest cannot be resolved within such time limit, the Comptroller General may resolve the amended protest through the express option under paragraph (2) of this subsection.
(4)
The Comptroller General may dismiss a protest that the Comptroller General determines is frivolous or which, on its face, does not state a valid basis for protest.
(b)
(1)
With respect to a solicitation for a contract, or a proposed award or the award of a contract, protested under this subchapter, the Comptroller General may determine whether the solicitation, proposed award, or award complies with statute and regulation. If the Comptroller General determines that the solicitation, proposed award, or award does not comply with a statute or regulation, the Comptroller General shall recommend that the Federal agency—
(A)
refrain from exercising any of its options under the contract;
(B)
recompete the contract immediately;
(C)
cancel the solicitation issued pursuant to the public-private competition conducted under Office of Management and Budget Circular A–76 or any successor circular;
(D)
issue a new solicitation;
(E)
terminate the contract;
(F)
award a contract consistent with the requirements of such statute and regulation;
(G)
implement any combination of recommendations under clauses (A), (B), (C), (D), (E), and (F); or
(H)
implement such other recommendations as the Comptroller General determines to be necessary in order to promote compliance with procurement statutes and regulations.
(2)
If the head of the procuring activity responsible for a contract makes a finding under section 3553(d)(3)(C)(i)(I) of this title, the Comptroller General shall make recommendations under this subsection without regard to any cost or disruption from terminating, recompeting, or reawarding the contract.
(3)
If the Federal agency fails to implement fully the recommendations of the Comptroller General under this subsection with respect to a solicitation for a contract or an award or proposed award of a contract within 60 days after receiving the recommendations, the head of the procuring activity responsible for that contract shall report such failure to the Comptroller General not later than 5 days after the end of such 60-day period.
(c)
(1)
If the Comptroller General determines that a solicitation for a contract or a proposed award or the award of a contract does not comply with a statute or regulation, the Comptroller General may recommend that the Federal agency conducting the procurement pay to an appropriate interested party the costs of—
(A)
filing and pursuing the protest, including reasonable attorneys’ fees and consultant and expert witness fees; and
(B)
bid and proposal preparation.
(2)
No party (other than a small business concern (within the meaning of section 3(a) of the Small Business Act)) may be paid, pursuant to a recommendation made under the authority of paragraph (1)—
(A)
costs for consultant and expert witness fees that exceed the highest rate of compensation for expert witnesses paid by the Federal Government; or
(B)
costs for attorneys’ fees that exceed $150 per hour unless the agency determines, based on the recommendation of the Comptroller General on a case by case basis, that an increase in the cost of living or a special factor, such as the limited availability of qualified attorneys for the proceedings involved, justifies a higher fee.
(3)
If the Comptroller General recommends under paragraph (1) that a Federal agency pay costs to an interested party, the Federal agency shall—
(A)
pay the costs promptly; or
(B)
if the Federal agency does not make such payment, promptly report to the Comptroller General the reasons for the failure to follow the Comptroller General’s recommendation.
(4)
If the Comptroller General recommends under paragraph (1) that a Federal agency pay costs to an interested party, the Federal agency and the interested party shall attempt to reach an agreement on the amount of the costs to be paid. If the Federal agency and the interested party are unable to agree on the amount to be paid, the Comptroller General may, upon the request of the interested party, recommend to the Federal agency the amount of the costs that the Federal agency should pay.
(d)
Each decision of the Comptroller General under this subchapter shall be signed by the Comptroller General or a designee for that purpose. A copy of the decision shall be made available to the interested parties, the head of the procuring activity responsible for the solicitation, proposed award, or award of the contract, and the senior procurement executive of the Federal agency involved.
(e)
(1)
The Comptroller General shall report promptly to the Committee on Governmental Affairs and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate and to the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives any case in which a Federal agency fails to implement fully a recommendation of the Comptroller General under subsection (b) or (c). The report shall include—
(A)
a comprehensive review of the pertinent procurement, including the circumstances of the failure of the Federal agency to implement a recommendation of the Comptroller General; and
(B)
a recommendation regarding whether, in order to correct an inequity or to preserve the integrity of the procurement process, the Congress should consider—
(i)
private relief legislation;
(ii)
legislative rescission or cancellation of funds;
(iii)
further investigation by Congress; or
(iv)
other action.
(2)
Not later than January 31 of each year, the Comptroller General shall transmit to the Congress a report containing a summary of each instance in which a Federal agency did not fully implement a recommendation of the Comptroller General under subsection (b) or (c) during the preceding year. The report shall also describe each instance in which a final decision in a protest was not rendered within 100 days after the date the protest is submitted to the Comptroller General. The report shall also include a summary of the most prevalent grounds for sustaining protests during such preceding year.
(Added Pub. L. 98–369, div. B, title VII, § 2741(a), July 18, 1984, 98 Stat. 1201; amended Pub. L. 100–463, title VIII, § 8139, Oct. 1, 1988, 102 Stat. 2270–47; Pub. L. 103–355, title I, § 1403(a)–(b)(3), Oct. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 3289, 3290; Pub. L. 104–106, div. D, title XLIII, § 4321(d)(3), div. E, title LV, § 5501(2), Feb. 10, 1996, 110 Stat. 674, 698; Pub. L. 111–84, div. A, title III, § 327(c), Oct. 28, 2009, 123 Stat. 2255; Pub. L. 112–239, div. A, title VIII, § 867, Jan. 2, 2013, 126 Stat. 1862.)
cite as: 31 USC 3554