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Government Affairs February 2018 Update

Posted By Bill Rivers, Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

Go ALC! The UNConference at Amelia Island was amazing, especially given that we had to move the meeting from Puerto Rico to Florida. Despite the windy and chilly weather, great learning and networking occurred. Having been to every UNConference, and having talked with many of you at these events, I can attest to the value of learning from each other. The ALC UNConference is truly extraordinary.

Whenever called upon at Amelia Island, I talked about Language Advocacy Day—the annual meeting and “fly-in” for the Joint National Committee for Languages and the National Language Council. Well, we’ve just completed Language Advocacy Day, with more than 125 delegates representing 33 states and the District of Columbia, and attending more than 180 meetings on Capitol Hill and in the Executive Branch.

We focused on the priorities linked below:

With regard to the issue of lowest-price technically acceptable bids on federal contracts for language services, our foundational message to Congress was, is, and ever will be that language services are fundamentally a professional service, not a commodity. Last week, our 125+ advocates, representing the language industry, K–12 education, higher education, and practitioners, took this message to Congress, pressing that language services be procured as professional services by the federal government through use of the tradeoff (i.e., best value) model. Reports from the meetings on Capitol Hill were uniformly positive—this issue resonates on the Hill. The National Language Council will continue raising this issue with the General Services Administration and Congress as we push to extend the requirement to use the tradeoff model beyond the Department of Defense.

Of course, we continue to work on employee classification, fair audits of the Service Contracting Act, and the errant methodology of the Bureau of Labor Statistics—key issues in federal contracting and regulation that impinge on our industry. The work done this week by our delegates in talking about our industry and its importance to national security, economic growth, and social justice—and in linking the “work” side of language to the “learn” side—bolsters our case and strengthens the relations our industry needs on Capitol Hill. So, a huge thank you to all who participated last week!

With Best Wishes,

Bill Rivers

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