The Professional Services Council (PSC) has published a letter to Congress, requesting an extension of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act designed to assist the federal contractor community during the COVID-19 crisis, PSC reported on Thursday.
“When the CARES Act was enacted, there was no clear estimation or understanding of the duration or magnitude of the impact of COVID-19. Today, it is apparent that COVID-19’s impact will clearly extend beyond September 30, 2020, and it is not possible to predict how long such authority will be needed,” said David Berteau, PSC president and CEO and two-time Wash100 awardee.
PSC requested an extension of Section 3610 of the CARES Act to continue until Dec. 31 2020, or the expiration of the coronavirus public health emergency, whichever comes later. Section 3610 will reimburse contractors with employees who have been denied access to government-approved facilities and who are unable to telework because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The letter added that Section 3610 enables companies to retain skilled workers and key personnel, many with high-level security clearances. PSC noted that without the ability to sustain the contracts, there could have negative impacts on the federal agencies.
“PSC believes that a top legislative priority must be extending this government-wide authority granted under Section 3610 during the emergency,” Berteau added.
PSC’s letter follows Berteau’s statement on the effects of COVID-19 on the workforce that was released in April 2020. He mentioned the contractors’ observations on the pace of solicitations for future work and evaluation process during the pandemic.
When asked about the lessons that agencies and contractors can take from the current situation, Berteau said “there are some huge lessons about how we can recruit and retain the workforce that is more agile, more remote.”
Berteau also cited the need for the government to shift its focus from input to results. “I think one of the great lessons of this is we can focus a lot more on the results and outcomes and let’s build procurements and let’s manage the contractors in such a way that we focus on results, that has to be done at the solicitation end, at the evaluation end, at the award end and at the performance end,” he stated.
PSC is the voice of the government technology and professional services industry. PSC’s more than 400 member companies represent small, medium and large businesses that provide federal agencies with services of all kinds, including information technology, engineering, logistics, facilities management, operations and maintenance, consulting, international development, scientific, social, environmental services, and more. Together, the trade association’s members employ hundreds of thousands of Americans in all 50 states.