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Ryan Boonstra serves the firm’s clients in a wide variety of government contracting matters, including bid protests, small business matters, defense contracting, weapon development and research contracting, government construction, and matters relating to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). While in law school, he was a summer associate in the firm’s Government Contracting Group.

Raised in an Air Force family, Ryan’s government ties run deep. Before law school, he spent three summers in the Navy Office of General Counsel at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia aiding in government contracting matters. While there, Ryan received a unique, hands-on experience representing the government against contractors in all forms of disputes. In law school, Ryan took classes such as Military Law Seminar and National Security. He was also a proud member of and author of the Arbitration Law Review.

The Biden administration seems to be doubling down on the application and enforcement of the Buy American Act with the president’s January 25 executive order. While former President Trump’s order focused on increasing domestic material percentages, President Biden’s order focuses on oversight, enforcement, and access to information.

The first part of President Biden’s order establishes a Made in America Office (MAO) to increase oversight of Buy America and Buy American waivers. Buy America gives preference to the use of domestic materials on federal contracts that relate to transportation, and Buy American generally requires the use of domestic construction materials on any federal construction project. MAO will oversee both Buy America and Buy American and will be responsible for several new changes, including:
Continue Reading Biden’s Buy American: More Oversight and More Information

The coronavirus epidemic has disrupted our world in ways we could not have imagined a few weeks ago. In the midst of the crisis, the federal government is trying to do everything possible to keep businesses afloat, and that includes the continuation of current federal projects. We recently published a blog post addressing steps contractors should consider in order to protect their rights under contracts they are currently performing, but there is also a question about whether contractors should bid new projects. That is the focus of this article.

Almost all federal construction and supply contracts are solicited on a firm fixed-price basis. This type of contract is designed to provide the greatest opportunity for reward, coupled with the attendant risk of bidding incorrectly and incurring additional costs. The cost estimates that contractors must prepare before submitting a bid or proposal require a reasonable degree of foreseeability and certainty in the marketplace. In times of significant inflation or a shortage of resources as occurred during the energy crisis of the 1970s, it is difficult to predict the cost of materials for the life of a project. What we now face is far more disruptive. We are in the midst of a pandemic that is making it impossible to predict the availability, at any price, of labor, equipment, and materials in the weeks and months ahead. Predicting prices under those circumstances has nothing to do with sound business judgment – it requires a crystal ball.
Continue Reading Bidding Federal Work During the Coronavirus Crisis