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Congress has been focused on ensuring that small businesses in the 8(a) program receive extra time to make up for disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic. To that end, Congress included language in both the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) and 2021 National Defense Authorization Act to provide one year of extended eligibility to companies who were 8(a) participants “as of” September 9, 2020. These acts required the Small Business Administration (SBA) to implement that mandate within 15 days of enactment. The CAA was signed on December 27, 2020, and SBA issued an interim final rule—with immediate effect—on January 13, 2021. This interim final rule provides important clarity on the extension of eligibility.
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