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Acquisition Regulation: Guidance on Use of Award Term Incentives; Administrative Amendments

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) amends the EPA Acquisition Regulation (EPAAR) to add policy, procedures, and contract clauses for the use of award term incentives. This rule makes two administrative changes to the EPAAR. One change is to reflect the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals as EPA's new forum for appeals under the Contract Disputes Act of 1978. The other change corrects a numbering error in Subpart 1516.4.

DATES:

This final rule is effective on February 11, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OARM-2003-0001. All documents in the docket are listed on the www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically through www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at EPA Docket Center, OEI Docket, EPA/DC, EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the OEI Docket is (202) 566-1752.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Marilyn E. Chambers, U.S. EPA, Office of Acquisition Management, Mail Code (3802R), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: (202) 564-4398; fax number: (202) 565-2474; e-mail address: chambers.marilyn@epa.gov.

I. Supplementary Information

A. Background

EPA published a proposed rule in the Federal Register at 72 FR 56708, October 4, 2007 to add guidance to the EPAAR on the use of award term contracts and make two administrative changes. The comment period closed on December 3, 2007. One comment was received. The respondent pointed out, effective January 6, 2007, the Board of Contract Appeals that existed at the General Services Administration was terminated and the cases were transferred to the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals. Our proposed rule stated EPA has changed its forum for appeals under the Contract Disputes Act of 1978 from the Department of Interior Board of Contract Appeals to the General Services Administration Board of Contract Appeals. The rule should have stated EPA has changed its forum for appeals under the Contract Disputes Act of 1978 from the Department of Interior Board of Contract Appeals to the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals. The final rule is revised to substitute the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals for the General Services Administration Board of Contract Appeals in section Start Printed Page 19791533.203. No other changes were made to the proposed rule.

II. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review

This proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action for the purposes of Executive Order 12866; therefore, no review is required by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

B. Paperwork Reduction Act

The Paperwork Reduction Act does not apply because this rule does not contain information requirements that require the approval of OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

C. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), as Amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq.

The RFA generally requires an agency to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis of any rule subject to notice and comment rulemaking requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act or any other statute unless the agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Small entities include small businesses, small organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions.

For purposes of assessing the impact of today's rule on small entities, “small entity” is defined as: (1) A small business that meets the definition of a small business found in the Small Business Act and codified at 13 CFR 121.201; (2) a small governmental jurisdiction that is a government of a city, county, town, school district or special district with a population of less than 50,000; and (3) a small organization that is any not-for-profit enterprise which is independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its field.

After considering the economic impacts of today's rule on small entities, I certify that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. In determining whether a rule has a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, the impact of concern is any significant adverse economic impact on small entities, because the primary purpose of the regulatory flexibility analyses is to identify and address regulatory alternatives “which minimize any significant economic impact of the proposed rule on small entities.” 5 U.S.C. 603 and 604. Thus, an agency may certify that a rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities if the rule relieves regulatory burden, or otherwise has a positive economic effect on all of the small entities subject to the rule. Since award term incentives will be available equally to large and small entities, this rule will not have a significant economic impact on small entities.

D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), Public Law 104-4, establishes requirements for Federal agencies to assess their regulatory actions on State, local, and Tribal governments, and the private sector. This proposed rule does not contain a Federal mandate that may result in expenditures of $100 million or more for State, local, and Tribal governments, in the aggregate, or the private sector in one year. Any private sector costs for this action relate to paperwork requirements and associated expenditures that are far below the level established for UMRA applicability. Thus, this rule is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 and 205 of the UMRA.

E. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From Environmental Health and Safety Risks

Executive Order 13045, entitled “Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks” (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997), applies to any rule that: (1) Is determined to be economically significant as defined under Executive Order 12866, and (2) concerns an environmental health or safety risk that EPA has reason to believe may have a disproportionate effect on children. If the regulatory action meets both criteria, the Agency must evaluate the environmental health or safety effects of the planned rule on children, and explain why the planned regulation is preferable to other potentially effective and reasonably feasible alternatives considered by the Agency.

This rule is not subject to Executive Order 13045 because it is not an economically significant rule as defined by Executive Order 12866, and because it does not involve decisions on environmental health or safety risks.

F. Executive Order 13132: Federalism

Executive Order 13132, entitled, “Federalism” (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999), requires EPA to develop an accountable process to ensure “meaningful and timely input by State and local officials in the development of regulatory policies that have federalism implications.” “Policies that have federalism implications” are defined in the Executive Order to include regulations that have “substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.”

Under section 6 of Executive Order 13132, EPA may not issue a regulation that has federalism implications, that imposes substantial direct compliance costs, and that is not required by statute, unless the Federal Government provides the funds necessary to pay the direct compliance costs incurred by State and local governments, or EPA consults with State and local officials early in the process of developing the proposed regulation. EPA also may not issue a regulation that has federalism implications and that preempts State law, unless the Agency consults with State and local officials early in the process of developing the proposed regulation.

This rule does not have federalism implications. It will not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government, as specified in Executive Order 13132. This rule amends the EPAAR to provide guidance on the use of award term incentives and make other administrative changes. Thus, the requirements of section 6 of the Executive Order do not apply to this rule.

G. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments

Executive Order 13175, entitled “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments” (65 FR 67249, November 6, 2000), requires EPA to develop an accountable process to ensure “meaningful and timely input by tribal officials in the development of regulatory policies that have tribal implications.” “Policies that have tribal implications” are defined in the Executive Order to include regulations that have “substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and the Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.” Start Printed Page 1980

This rule does not have tribal implications. It does not have substantial direct effects on tribal governments, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, as specified in Executive Order 13175. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this proposed rule.

H. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995

Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (NTTAA), Public Law 104-113, section 12(d) (15 U.S.C. 272 note), directs EPA to use voluntary consensus standards in its regulatory activities, unless to do so would be inconsistent with applicable law, or otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., materials specifications, test methods, sampling procedures and business practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies. The NTTAA directs EPA to provide Congress, through OMB, explanations when the Agency decides not to use available and applicable voluntary consensus standards.

This rule does not involve technical standards. Therefore, EPA is not considering use of any voluntary consensus standards.

I. Executive Order 13211: Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution or Use

This rule is not subject to Executive Order 13211, “Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution or Use” (66 FR 28335 (May 22, 2001)), because it is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866.

J. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions To Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations

Executive Order 12898 (59 FR 7629 (Feb. 16, 1994)) establishes federal executive policy on environmental justice. Its main provision directs federal agencies, to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law, to make environmental justice part of their mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of their programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations in the United States.

EPA has determined that this rule does not have disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority or low-income populations because it does not affect the level of protection provided to human health or the environment. This rule does not involve human health or environmental effects.

K. Submission to Congress and the Government Accountability Office

The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801, et seq., as added by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, generally provides that before a rule may take effect, the agency promulgating the rule must submit a rule report, which includes a copy of the rule, to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States. EPA will submit a report containing this rule and other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior to publication of the rule in the Federal Register. A major rule cannot take effect until 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. This action is not a “major rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2). This rule will be effective on February 11, 2008.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 1516, 1533 and 1552

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Dated: December 26, 2007.

John C. Gherardini,

Acting Director, Office of Acquisition Management.

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Therefore, 48 CFR Chapter 15 is amended as set forth below:

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PART 1516—TYPES OF CONTRACTS

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1. The authority citation for part 1516 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: The provisions of this regulation are issued under 5 U.S.C. 301; Sec. 205(c), 63 Stat. 390, as amended, 40 U.S.C. 486(c); and 41 U.S.C. 418b.

End Authority Start Amendment Part

2. Add section 1516.401-1 to read as follows:

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General.
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3. Add section 1516.401-170 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Award term incentives.

(a) Award term incentives enable a contractor to become eligible for additional periods of performance under a current contract by achieving prescribed performance measures under that contract.

(b) Award term incentives are designed to motivate contractors to superior performance. Accordingly, the prescribed performance measures, i.e., acceptable quality levels (AQL) which must be achieved by a contractor to become eligible for an award term typically will be in excess of the AQLs necessary for Government acceptance of contract deliverables.

(c) The Award Term Incentive Plan sets forth the evaluation process, including the evaluation criteria and performance measures, and serves as the basis for award term decisions. The Award Term Incentive Plan may be unilaterally revised by the Government.

(d) Award term incentives may be used in conjunction with options. The Federal Acquisition Regulation does not prescribe a level of performance for the exercise of options, as contrasted with award term incentives, which should require superior performance as discussed in paragraph (b) of this subsection. Award term incentive periods will follow any option periods.

(e)(1) The Government has the unilateral right not to grant or to cancel award term incentive periods and the associated award term incentive plans if—

(i) The Contracting Officer has failed to initiate an award term incentive period, regardless of whether the contractor's performance permitted the Contracting Officer to consider initiating the award term incentive period; or

(ii) The contractor has failed to achieve the performance measures for the corresponding evaluation period; or

(iii) The Government notifies the contractor in writing it does not have funds available for the award term; or

(iv) The Government no longer has a need for the award term incentive period at or before the time an award term incentive period is to commence.

(2) When an award term incentive period is not granted or cancelled, any—

(i) Prior award term incentive periods for which the contractor remains otherwise eligible are unaffected.

(ii) Subsequent award term incentive periods are thereby also cancelled.

(f) Award term incentives may be appropriate for any type of service contract.

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4. Add section 1516.401-270 to read as follows:

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Definition.

Acceptable quality level (AQL) as used in this subpart means the minimum percent of deliverables which are compliant with a given performance standard that would permit a contractor to become eligible for an award term incentive. Because the performance necessary for eligibility for the award term incentive may be in excess of that Start Printed Page 1981necessary for the Government acceptance of contract deliverables, the AQLs associated with the award term incentive may exceed the AQLs associated with the acceptance of contract deliverables. For example, under contract X, acceptable performance is 75 percent of reports submitted to the Government within five days. However, to be eligible for an award term incentive, 85 percent of reports must be submitted to the Government within five days.

[Redesignated as 1516.406]
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5. Redesignate section 1516.405 as section 1516.406.

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[Redesignated as 1516.405-2]
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6. Redesignate section 1516.404-2 as section 1516.405-2.

End Amendment Part
[Redesignated as 1516.405-270]
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7. Redesignate section 1516.404-272 as section 1516.405-270.

End Amendment Part
[Redesignated as 1516.405-271]
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8. Redesignate section 1516.404-273 as section 1516.405-271.

End Amendment Part
[Redesignated as 1516.405-272]
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9. Redesignate section 1516.404-274 as section 1516.405-272.

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10. Amend newly designated section 1516.406 to add new paragraphs (c) and (d) to read as follows:

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Contract clauses.
* * * * *

(c) The Contracting Officer shall insert the clauses at 1552.216-77, Award Term Incentive, 1552.216-78, Award Term Incentive Plan, and 1552.216-79 Award Term Availability of Funds in solicitations and contracts when award term incentives are contemplated. The clauses at 1552.216-77 and 1552.216-78 may be used on substantially the same basis.

(d) If the Contracting Officer wishes to use the ratings set forth in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Contractor Performance System (CPS) on the contract at hand as the basis for contractor eligibility for an award term incentive, the Contracting Officer shall insert the clause at 1552.216-78 with its Alternate I.

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PART 1533—PROTESTS, DISPUTES AND APPEALS

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11. The authority citation for part 1533 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301; Sec. 205(c), 63 Stat. 390, as amended, 40 U.S.C. 486(c); and 41 U.S.C. 418b.

End Authority Start Amendment Part

12. Revise section 1533.203 to read as follows:

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Applicability.

The Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA) will hear appeals from final decisions of EPA Contracting Officers issued pursuant to the Contracts Disputes Act. The rules and regulations of the CBCA appear in 48 CFR Chapter 61.

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PART 1552—SOLICITATION PROVISIONS AND CONTRACT CLAUSES

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13. The authority citation for part 1552 continues to read as follows:

End Amendment Part Start Authority

Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301; Sec. 205(c), 63 Stat. 390, as amended, 40 U.S.C. 486(c); and 41 U.S.C. 418b.

End Authority Start Amendment Part

14. Add section 1552.216-77 to read as follows:

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Award term incentive.

As prescribed in 1515.406(c), insert a clause substantially the same as follows:

Award Term Incentive (FEB 2008)

(a) General. This contract may be extended as set forth in paragraph (b) based on overall contractor performance as evaluated in accordance with the Clause entitled “Award Term Incentive Plan,” provided the Agency has a need for the effort at or before the time an award term is to commence, and if the contractor receives notice of the availability of funding for an award term period pursuant to the “Award Term Availability of Funds” clause. The Contracting Officer is responsible for the overall award term evaluation and award term decision. The Contracting Officer will unilaterally decide whether or not the contractor is eligible for an award term extension, and in conjunction with the Contracting Officer's Representative, will determine the need for continued performance and funding availability.

(b) Period of performance. Provided the contractor has achieved the performance measures, e.g., acceptable quality levels, set forth in the clause “Award Term Incentive Plan,” the Contracting Officer may extend the contract by exercising ____ [insert the total award term incentive periods] additional award term incentive period(s) of ____ [insert the award term incentive period] months each. The total maximum period of performance under this contract, if the Government exercises any option periods and all award term incentive periods is ____ [insert the total of the base period, option periods (if any), and award term incentive periods] years.

(c) Right not to grant or cancel the award term incentive. (1) The Government has the unilateral right not to grant or to cancel award term incentive periods and the associated award term incentive plans if—

(i) The Contracting Officer has failed to initiate an award term incentive period, regardless of whether the contractor's performance permitted the Contracting Officer to consider initiating the award term incentive period; or

(ii) The contractor has failed to achieve the performance measures for the corresponding evaluation period; or

(iii) The Government notifies the contractor in writing it does not have funds available for the award term incentive periods; or

(iv) The Government no longer has a need for the award term incentive period at or before the time an award term incentive period is to commence.

(2) When an award term incentive period is not granted or cancelled, any—

(i) Prior award term incentive periods for which the contractor remains otherwise eligible are unaffected.

(ii) Subsequent award term incentive periods are thereby also cancelled.

(d) Cancellation of an award term incentive period that has not yet commenced for any of the reasons set forth in paragraph (c) of this clause shall not be considered either a termination for convenience or termination for default, and shall not entitle the contractor to any termination settlement or any other compensation. If the award term incentive is cancelled, a unilateral modification will cite this clause as the authority.

(e) Award term incentive administration. The award term incentive evaluation(s) will be completed in accordance with the schedule in the Award Term Incentive Plan. The contractor will be notified of the results and their eligibility to be considered for the respective award term incentive no later than 120 days after an evaluation period.

(f) Review process. The contractor may request a review of an award term incentive evaluation which has resulted in the contractor being ineligible for the award term incentive. The request shall be submitted in writing to the Contracting Officer within 15 days after notification of the results of the evaluation.

(end of clause)

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15. Add section 1552.216-78 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Award Term Incentive Plan.

As prescribed in 1515.406(c), insert a clause substantially the same as follows:

Award Term Incentive Plan (FEB 2008)

(a) The Award Term Incentive Plan provides for the evaluation of performance, and, together with Agency need and availability of funding, serves as the basis for award term decisions. The Award Term Incentive Plan may be unilaterally revised by the Government. Any changes to the Award Term Incentive Plan will be made in writing and incorporated into the contract through a unilateral modification citing this clause. The Government will consult with the contractor prior to the issuance of a revised Award Term Incentive Plan, but is not required to obtain the contractor's consent to the revisions.

(b) [describe the evaluation periods and associated award term incentive periods, e.g., months 1-18 for award term incentive period Start Printed Page 1982I, and months 19-36 for award term incentive period II]

(c) [describe the evaluation schedule, e.g., 90 days after the end of the evaluation period]

(d) In order to be eligible for an award term incentive period the contractor must achieve all of the acceptable quality levels (AQL) for the evaluated tasks, both individual and aggregate, for that evaluation period. Failure to achieve any AQL renders the contractor ineligible for the associated award term incentive period. [identify the most significant tasks. Describe the AQL for each task as well as an overall AQL for the associated evaluation periods, e.g., an AQL of 90% each for tasks 1 and 3, and an AQL of 85% for task 7, and an overall AQL of 90% for the months 1-18 evaluation period]

(e) [If the contract will contain a quality assurance surveillance plan (QASP), reference the QASP, e.g., attachment 2. Typically, the performance standards and AQLs will be defined in the QASP]

(end of clause)

Alternate 1 (FEB 2008)

As prescribed in 1516.406(d), substitute paragraphs substantially the same as following paragraphs (b) through (e) for paragraphs (b) through (e) in the basic clause:

(b) At the conclusion of each contract year, an average contract rating shall be determined by using the numerical ratings entered into the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Contractor Performance System (CPS) for this contract. The NIHCPS is an interactive database located on the Internet which EPA uses to record contractor performance evaluations.

(c) The contract year average rating shall be obtained by dividing the combined ratings by the number of ratings, for example:

CriteriaRating
Quality of Product or Service5.
Cost Control4.
Timeliness of Performance4.
Business Relations5.
18 (combined rating).
/ 4 (number of ratings).
= 4.5 contract year average rating.

(d) The contractor shall be evaluated for performance from the start of the contract through Year __ [identify the evaluation period, e.g., year three]. The average rating for each contract year (as derived in paragraph (c) above) will be combined and divided by [insert the number of evaluation periods] to obtain an overall average rating, for example:

Evaluation periodAverage rating
Year One4.5.
Year Two4.75.
Year Three4.75.
14 (combined average rating).
/ 3 (number of evaluation periods).
= 4.66 overall average rating.

(e) Based on the overall average rating as determined under paragraph (d), provided that no individual rating, i.e., Quality of Product or Service, Cost Control, Timeliness of Performance, or Business Relations is below a 3, the contractor shall be eligible for the following award term periods:

(1) Overall average rating of 4.6 to 5.0—Two award term incentive periods of __ [insert the number of months] months.

(2) Overall average rating of 4.0 to 4.6—One award term incentive period of __ [insert the number of months] months.

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16. Add section 1552.216-79 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Award Term Availability of Funds.

As prescribed in 1515.406(c), insert the following clause:

Award Term Availability of Funds (FEB 2008)

Funds are not presently available for any award term. The Government's obligation under any award term is contingent upon the availability of appropriated funds from which payment can be made. No legal liability on the part of the Government for any award term payment may arise until funds are made available to the Contracting Officer for an award term and until the Contractor receives notice of such availability, to be confirmed in writing by the Contracting Officer.

(end of clause)

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[FR Doc. E8-356 Filed 1-10-08; 8:45 am]

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