GAO Bid Protests: An Overview of Time Frames and Procedures [June 30, 2011]   [open pdf - 277KB]

"Bid protests, especially bid protests filed with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), have recently received increased congressional scrutiny due to protests of high-profile awards and reports that the number of protests is increasing. The potential delay of contract award or performance triggered by a GAO protest, coupled with the increasing number of GAO protests, has also prompted concerns about the impact of protests upon agency operations, especially in the Department of Defense. Additionally, questions have recently arisen about GAO's jurisdiction over protests challenging the issuance of task and delivery orders valued in excess of $10 million. The 111th Congress enacted legislation (P.L. 111-383) extending certain provisions governing GAO's jurisdiction over orders issued by defense agencies that otherwise would have sunset in May 2011. The 112th Congress considered, but did not enact, similar legislation regarding the orders of civilian agencies (H.R. 899, S. 498). However, on June 14, 2011, GAO found that Congress's failure to extend the sun-setting provisions means that it has jurisdiction over orders of any value issued by civilian agencies, not that it lacks jurisdiction over orders valued in excess of $10 million issued by civilian agencies. […] However, the agency is to notify GAO if it does not fully implement GAO's recommendations. GAO is, then, to inform Congress of agency noncompliance. Agencies comply with GAO recommendations in most protests. Protesters disappointed with GAO's decision can seek reconsideration from GAO. They can also 'appeal' GAO's decision by filing a bid protest with the Court of Federal Claims."

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CRS Report for Congress, R40228
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