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Thursday, March 18, 2010

US Court of Claims rules HUBZone preference trumps Section 8(a) preference


US federal laws and regulations include various mandated social preference "set asides", intended to extend availability of government purchasing to directed classes of providers.


The so-called Section 8(a) preferences, for instance, are aimed at personal status of the owners, based on various criteria, such as veteran, women and Native American. It is a program operated by the US Small Business Administration under 15 U.S.C. § 637(a).

Another such program operated by SBA, under 15 U.S.C. § 657a. It is aimed at particular geographic locales; it is called the HUBZone preference, for Historically Underutilized Business Zone.

In the contest for preference, it is sometimes argued that one class of preference beneficiary should have priority over another. In this case, Mission Critical Solutions v. US, No. 09-864 C March 2, 2010, the US Court of Claims held that a HUBZone preference takes priority over a Section 8(a) Veteran preference, with possible implications for other 8(a) preference groups.

This is important for Guam businesses seeking federal contracts because the whole of Guam has been identified as a HUBZone.

An easily read description of the implications and circumstances of this case is here:
HUBZone Firms Take Top Priority For Small Business Set-Asides .

An extracted abstract of this case, set in the context of other decisions concerning the particular preference provisions involved in this case is here.

The Court of Claims decision is here: Mission Critical Solutions v. US.
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