What should be done when a FAR Part 14 solicitation yields bids in excess of available funds and there is a delay in receiving the additional funds? If the low bidder is willing to extend the length of time for which their bid is valid (past the length of time requested in block 13D of the SF 1442), how long can we do so? I want to avoid recompeting because it seems unfair to resolicit a requirement using Part 14 procedures since the previous bids are now known to everyone who was at the public opening or who requested a bid abstract. However, I can't imagine awarding to the low bidder something like 6 months after bid opening would be proper considering the possible change in the solicitation environment.
Similarly, if the requirement was posted in advance of funds and no subsequent funding is received (but bids have been opened and everyone knows what the low bid was), it seems unfair to resolicit in the future (say in the next fiscal year) if funds do become available.
This problem doesn't seem to occur with normal Part 15 procedures since the proposals are not publicly opened.
You may continue to request 30 day validity date extensions of the bid, however, you should find out how long it will take your program office to obtain the additional funding needed to be fair to the bidder so it doesn't go on indefinitely. If your program office indicates that no more funding will become available, you should not make an award with insufficient funds.
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Things to consider...Was your IGCE done incorrectly? Is the amount of the lowest bid significantly higher than the IGCE? Did your IFB accurately describe the Government's requirement? In other words, did you ask for a standard car and get a bid for a luxury car? If that is the case, and it doesn't meet the Government's requirements, you should reject the bid. The Government should not pay for, or try to pay for more than it actually needs.
You should contact your agency's legal counsel and consult with your contracting officer for advice before proceeding.