before issuing an solicitation, does contracting have to ha e commitment of funds COR the entire five years or just the base year ?
Unless there were facts not included in the question/question background or a VA regulation or directive we are not aware of... Our answer is this: Technically – No. You can’t “commit” funds because they are not available yet. But, the process can start, here’s how:
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We checked your VAAR and there is no amplifying guidance or limitations; so we will stay at the FAR level.
FAR 1.602-2(a) and 1.602-1(b) basically says that “no contract” (including task/delivery orders, purchase orders, etc.) may be entered into unless… “sufficient funds are available for obligation…”
However, for fiscal year contracts (which your background inferred), FAR 32.703 says that “contracting officer may initiate a contract action (emphasis added for answer purposes only) properly chargeable to funds of the new fiscal year before these funds are available, provided that the contract includes the clause at 52.232-18, Availability of Funds (see 32.706-1(a)).” You can go on to read the rest of this.
Here, “contract action” clearly includes the issuance of a solicitation. Contracting Officers across the Federal government use this all the time as justification and authority to issue solicitations before money is available for commitment or obligation on O&M funded fiscal year contracts, as long as we are reasonably assured funds will be available and committed when it comes time to award and start performance. In almost all cases, the contracting officer requires a “planning purchase request” which says the funds are anticipated to be available.
In your case, it is possible that your Fiscal is not reasonably assured that funds will be available and therefore unwilling to produce a planning PR (a VA Form 2237, correct?).