[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 49 (Thursday, March 13, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 14182-14185]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-05409]


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GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION

48 CFR Parts 501, 538, and 552

[(Change 56); GSAR Case 2012-G501 Docket No. 2013-0006; Sequence No. 1]
RIN 3090-AJ36


General Services Administration Acquisition Regulation; (GSAR); 
Electronic Contracting Initiative (ECI)

AGENCY: Office of Acquisition Policy, General Services Administration 
(GSA).

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The General Services Administration (GSA) is issuing a final 
rule amending the General Services Administration Acquisition 
Regulation (GSAR) to add a Modifications (Federal Supply Schedule) 
clause, and an Alternate I version of the clause that will require 
electronic submission of modifications under Federal Supply Schedule 
(FSS) contracts managed by GSA. The public reporting burdens associated 
with both the basic and Alternate I clauses are also being updated.

DATES: Effective: April 14, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Dana Munson, General Services 
Acquisition Policy Division, GSA, 202-357-9652 or email 
Dana.Munson@gsa.gov, for clarification of content. For information 
pertaining to status or publication schedules, contact the Regulatory 
Secretariat (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405, 202-501-
4755. Please cite GSAR case 2012-G501.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

[[Page 14183]]

A. Background

    GSA published a proposed rule with a request for public comments in 
the Federal Register at 78 FR 31879 on May 28, 2013, to amend the GSAR 
to add clause 552.243-81 Modifications (Federal Supply Schedule), and 
an Alternate I version of the clause that requires electronic 
submission of modifications for FSS contracts managed by GSA.
    GSAR Clause 552.243-81, Modifications (Federal Supply Schedule) 
will replace 552.243-72, Modifications (Multiple Award Schedule), which 
was removed during the initial GSAR rewrite under GSAR proposed rule 
GSAR case 2006-G507 that was published in the Federal Register at 74 FR 
4596 on January 26, 2009. Withdrawal of GSAR case 2006-G507 was 
published in the Federal Register at 77 FR 76446 on December 28, 2012.
    The alternate version of the clause implements and mandates 
electronic submission of modifications, and only applies to FSS 
contracts managed by GSA. The alternate version of the clause links to 
GSA's electronic tool, eMod at http://eoffer.gsa.gov/. Use of eMod will 
streamline the modification submission process for both FSS contractors 
and contracting officers.
    Use of eMod will establish automated controls in the modification 
process that will ensure contract documentation is completed and 
approved by all required parties. Additionally, eMod will foster GSA's 
Rapid Action Modification (RAM), which allows contracting officers to 
process certain modification requests to the FSS contract (e.g., 
administrative changes) as unilateral modifications with no requirement 
for contractor signature on the Standard Form 30, Amendment of 
Solicitation/Modification of Contract (SF30).
    Current and new FSS contractors will be required to obtain a 
digital certificate in order to comply with submission of information 
via eMod. A digital certificate is an electronic credential that 
asserts the identity of an individual and enables eMod to verify the 
identity of the individual entering the system and signing documents. 
The certificate will be valid for a period of two years, after which, 
contractors must renew the certificate at the associated cost during 
that time. At present, two FSS vendors are authorized to issue digital 
certificates that facilitate the use of eMod, at a price of $119 per 
issuance and at renewals every two years. Having a digital certificate 
creates digital signatures which are verifiable. GSA has developed 
training on eMod, and obtaining a digital certificate. This information 
is posted on GSA's eOffer Web site at http://eoffer.gsa.gov.
    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does not have access to 
eMod, and is therefore not required to comply with the requirements of 
the Alternate I version of GSAR clause 552.238-81, Modifications 
(Federal Supply Schedule). VA will continue to utilize the basic 
version of the clause in management of their FSS contracts.
    GSA is in the process of rewriting each part of the GSAR and GSAM, 
and as each GSAR part is rewritten, GSA will publish it in the Federal 
Register for comments. This rule, Electronic Contracting Initiative 
(Modifications), is included in the rewrite of GSAR Part 538, Federal 
Supply Schedule Contracting.
    One respondent submitted a comment in response to the proposed 
rule. The comment is addressed in the Discussion and Analysis section 
below of this rule.

II. Discussion and Analysis

    The General Services Administration reviewed the comment in the 
development of this final rule. The commenter requested GSA contact 
them regarding ``accountability of Chevron contract 1'', in 
which they have ``percent interest in these assets.'' GSA contacted the 
commenter to follow-up on their request. Based on the telephone 
discussion, it was determined that the commenter wanted GSA to address 
accountability within the partnership agreement. The comment received 
was outside the scope of this case; therefore, no changes were made to 
the final rule.

III. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

    Executive Orders (E.O.s) 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess 
all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if 
regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize 
net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public 
health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). E.O. 
13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, 
of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. 
This is not a significant regulatory action and, therefore, was not 
subject to review under Section 6(b) of E.O. 12866, Regulatory Planning 
and Review, dated September 30, 1993. This rule is not a major rule 
under 5 U.S.C. 804.

IV. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The General Services Administration does not expect this proposed 
rule to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 
U.S.C. 601, et seq., because the proposed rule will implement a 
streamlined, electronic process for submission and processing of 
modification requests pertaining to FSS contracts managed by GSA. 
However, small businesses will be positively impacted by this 
initiative in that the process for submitting information is 
simplified, more structured and easy to use, and processing time is 
significantly reduced. For example, submission of a paper modification 
request is often a labor intensive process that involves repeated 
exchanges of information via standard mail and/or facsimile. The 
electronic process will include controls to prevent submission of 
incomplete requests that require follow-up.
    Contractors will be able to offer the latest products and services 
to the Federal Government faster and more often due to this streamlined 
submission process.
    Contractors will be required to obtain a digital certificate in 
order to comply with the eMod requirement. The cost of the digital 
certificate will impose some economic impact on all contractors, both 
small and other than small, doing business under Federal Supply 
Schedule contracts managed by GSA. Therefore, a Final Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) has been prepared consistent with 5 U.S.C. 
603, and is summarized as follows:

    The General Services Administration (GSA) is proposing to amend 
the General Services Administration Acquisition Regulation (GSAR) to 
add clause 552.238-81, Modifications (Federal Supply Schedule) back 
into the GSAR, and an alternate version of the clause that requires 
electronic submission of modifications for Federal Supply Schedule 
(FSS) contracts managed by GSA via eMod. The addition of the basic 
clause is an administrative change that reinstates a previous clause 
inadvertently removed from the GSAR. The alternate clause has never 
received public comment.
    The alternate version of this clause mandates electronic 
submission of modifications through GSA's electronic tool, eMod. Use 
of eMod establishes automated controls in the modification process 
that will ensure contract documentation is completed and approved by 
all required parties. Additionally, eMod will foster Rapid Action 
Modification (RAM), which allows contracting officers to process 
certain modifications (e.g., administrative changes) as unilateral 
modifications with no requirement for contractor signature on the 
Standard Form 30, Amendment of Solicitation/Modification of Contract 
(SF30). eMod will streamline the process and result in modification 
actions being processed more timely and efficiently.

[[Page 14184]]

    In addition to adding automated controls into the modification 
process, mandating the electronic submission of modifications will 
support several Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) initiatives that 
are currently underway to enhance the MAS Program's ability to 
transition to a completely electronic contracting environment. These 
initiatives include but are not limited to digitization of Multiple 
Award Schedule (MAS) contract files, Contracts Online, and the 
Enterprise Acquisition Solution (EAS).
    eMod is consistent with the Electronic Signatures In Global and 
National Commerce Act (E-SIGN), enacted on June 20, 2000, and the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Memoranda M-00-15, Guidance on 
Implementing the Electronic Signatures, dated September 25, 2000.
    All of GSA's FSS contractors (19,000) will be required to obtain 
a digital certificate in order to comply with this requirement. 
Approximately 80 percent (15,200) GSA FSS contracts are held by 
small businesses. A digital certificate is an electronic credential 
that enables eMod to verify the identity of the individual entering 
the system and signing documents. The certificate will be valid for 
a period of two years, after which, contractors must renew the 
certificate. At present, two FSS vendors are authorized to issue 
digital certificates that facilitate the use of eMod, at a price of 
$119 per issuance. The alternate version of this requirement does 
not apply to FSS contracts managed by the Department of Veteran 
Affairs (VA) because the VA does not utilize or have access to eMod.

V. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35) does apply; 
however, these changes to the GSAR do not impose additional information 
collection requirements to the paperwork burden previously approved 
under the Office of Management and Budget Control Number 3090-0302, 
titled: Modifications (Multiple Award Schedule): GSAR Part Affected: 
552.243-81.

List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 501, 538, and 552

    Government procurement.

    Dated: March 5, 2014.
Jeffrey Koses,
Senior Procurement Executive, Office of Acquisition Policy, Office of 
Government-wide Policy.

    Therefore, GSA amends 48 CFR parts 501, 538, and 552 as set forth 
below:

0
1. The authority citation for 48 CFR parts 501, 538, and 552 continues 
to read as follows:

    Authority:  40 U.S.C. 121(c).

PART 501--GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION ACQUISITION REGULATION 
SYSTEM

501.106  [Amended]

0
2. Amend section 501.106 in the table, by adding in sequence, GSAR 
Reference ``552.238-81'' and its corresponding OMB Control Number 
``3090-0302''.

PART 538--FEDERAL SUPPLY SCHEDULE CONTRACTING

0
3. Amend section 538.273 by adding paragraph (b)(3) to read as follows:


538.273  Contract clauses.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (3) 552.238-81, Modifications (Federal Supply Schedule). Use 
Alternate I for Federal Supply Schedules that only accept electronic 
modifications.

PART 552--SOLICITATION PROVISIONS AND CONTRACT CLAUSES

0
4. Add section 552.238-81 to read as follows:


552.238-81  Modification (Federal Supply Schedule).

    As prescribed in 538.273(b), insert the following clause:

Modifications (Federal Supply Schedule) (APR 2014)

    (a) General. The Contractor may request a contract modification 
by submitting a request to the Contracting Officer for approval, 
except as noted in paragraph (d) of this clause. At a minimum, every 
request shall describe the proposed change(s) and provide the 
rationale for the requested change(s).
    (b) Types of Modifications. (1) Additional items/additional 
SINs. When requesting additions, the following information must be 
submitted:
    (i) Information requested in paragraphs (1) and (2) of the 
Commercial Sales Practice Format to add SINs.
    (ii) Discount information for the new items(s) or new SIN(s). 
Specifically, submit the information requested in paragraphs 3 
through 5 of the Commercial Sales Practice Format. If this 
information is the same as the initial award, a statement to that 
effect may be submitted instead.
    (iii) Information about the new item(s) or the item(s) under the 
new SIN(s) as described in 552.212-70, Preparation of Offer 
(Multiple Award Schedule), is required.
    (iv) Delivery time(s) for the new item(s) or the item(s) under 
the new SIN(s) must be submitted in accordance with FAR 552.211-78, 
Commercial Delivery Schedule (Multiple Award Schedule).
    (v) Production point(s) for the new item(s) or the item(s) under 
the new SIN(s) must be submitted if required by FAR 52.215-6, Place 
of Performance.
    (vi) Hazardous Material information (if applicable) must be 
submitted as required by FAR 52.223-3 (Alternate I), Hazardous 
Material Identification and Material Safety Data.
    (vii) Any information requested by FAR 52.212-3(f), Offeror 
Representations and Certifications--Commercial Items, that may be 
necessary to assure compliance with FAR 52.225-1, Buy American Act--
Balance of Payments Programs--Supplies.
    (2) Deletions. The Contractors shall provide an explanation for 
the deletion. The Government reserves the right to reject any 
subsequent offer of the same item or a substantially equal item at a 
higher price during the same contract period, if the contracting 
officer finds the higher price to be unreasonable when compared with 
the deleted item.
    (3) Price Reduction. The Contractor shall indicate whether the 
price reduction falls under the item (i), (ii), or (iii) of 
paragraph (c)(1) of the Price Reductions clause at 552.238-75. If 
the Price reduction falls under item (i), the Contractor shall 
submit a copy of the dated commercial price list. If the price 
reduction falls under item (ii) or (iii), the Contractor shall 
submit a copy of the applicable price list(s), bulletins or letters 
or customer agreements which outline the effective date, duration, 
terms and conditions of the price reduction.
    (c) Effective dates. The effective date of any modification is 
the date specified in the modification, except as otherwise provided 
in the Price Reductions clause at 552.238-75.
    (d) Electronic File Updates. The Contractor shall update 
electronic file submissions to reflect all modifications. For 
additional items or SINs, the Contractor shall obtain the 
Contracting Officer's approval before transmitting changes. Contract 
modifications will not be made effective until the Government 
receives the electronic file updates. The Contractor may transmit 
price reductions, item deletions, and corrections without prior 
approval. However, the Contractor shall notify the Contracting 
Officer as set forth in the Price Reductions clause at 552.238-75.
    (e) Amendments to Paper Federal Supply Schedule Price Lists.
    (1) The Contractor must provide supplements to its paper price 
lists, reflecting the most current changes. The Contractor may 
either:
    (i) Distribute a supplemental paper Federal Supply Schedule 
Price List within 15 workdays after the effective date of each 
modification.
    (ii) Distribute quarterly cumulative supplements. The period 
covered by a cumulative supplement is at the discretion of the 
Contractor, but may not exceed three calendar months from the 
effective date of the earliest modification. For example, if the 
first modification occurs in February, the quarterly supplement must 
cover February-April, and every three month period after. The 
Contractor must distribute each quarterly cumulative supplement 
within 15 workdays from the last day of the calendar quarter.
    (2) At a minimum, the Contractor shall distribute each 
supplement to those ordering activities that previously received the 
basic

[[Page 14185]]

document. In addition, the Contractor shall submit two copies of 
each supplement to the Contracting Officer and one copy to the FSS 
Schedule Information Center.
(End of Clause)
    Alternate I (APR2014). As prescribed in 538.273(b)(3), add the 
following paragraph (f) to the basic clause:

    (f) Electronic submission of modification requests is mandatory 
via eMod (http://eOffer.gsa.gov), unless otherwise stated in the 
electronic submission standards and requirements at the Vendor 
Support Center Web site (http://vsc.gsa.gov). If the electronic 
submissions standards and requirements information is updated at the 
Vendor Support Center Web site, Contractors will be notified prior 
to the effective date of the change.

[FR Doc. 2014-05409 Filed 3-12-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6820-61-P