The Competition in Contracting Act (CICA) was passed into law in 1984 as a foundation for the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and to foster competition and reduce costs. The theory was that more competition for procurements would reduce costs and allow more small businesses to win Federal Government contracts. Under CICA all procurements must be competed as full and open (there are some exceptions found in FAR Part 6 such as FSS) so any qualified company can submit an offer. Additionally, CICA requires that all procurements with an estimated value exceeding $25,000 be advertised for at least 15 days before issuance of a solicitation (FAR 5.203 (a)), on FedBizOpps (FBO). CICA also requires minimum response times (30 to 45 days) for receipt of bids or proposals from the date of issuance of a solicitation (FAR 5.203 (c), (d) & (e)).
In addition, CICA requires each agency and procuring activity to establish a “competition advocate” within its organization to review and challenge any procurement that limits competition. At the Congressional level, a new Senate subcommittee was established to oversee implementation of CICA and encourage competition for government contracts. CICA also amended the protest procedures that are contained in FAR Part 33. Specifically, it established that a protest before contract award to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) will cause the award to be suspended until GAO rules on the protest. It also established a deadline of ninety (90) working days for GAO to issue a ruling or forty-five (45) calendar days if the express option is requested by either party.