Applicability of the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act
Chapter 85 of Title 41 United States Code, Committee For Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled, is the enabling legislation for the AbilityOne Program. Originally enacted in 1938 and amended and expanded in 1971 by the Javits-Wagner-O’Day (JWOD) Act, the AbilityOne Program is the largest employer of people who are blind or severely disabled in the United States.
Operating as the U.S. AbilityOne Commission (Commission), fifteen members appointed by the President (11 members representing specified Federal departments and agencies and 4 private citizens knowledgeable of employment issues of people who are blind or severely disabled) administer the AbilityOne Program. Assisting them is a small professional staff of full-time civil service employees and two central nonprofit agencies representing qualified community-based nonprofit agencies employing people who are blind or severely disabled.
Supporting the AbilityOne Program’s legislative intent of promoting increased employment for people who are blind or severely disabled is the responsibility of all Federal entities. It is the Commission’s policy that the JWOD Act applies to all Federal departments, agencies and corporations unless they can clearly show otherwise based on the definitions below:
41 U.S.C. § 8504:
Procurement requirements for the Federal Government, “an entity of the Federal Government intending to procure a product or service on the procurement list … shall procure the product or service from a qualified nonprofit agency for the blind or a qualified nonprofit agency for other severely disabled in accordance with the regulations of the [Commission].”
41 U.S.C. § 8501(4):
The terms “entity of the Federal Government” and “Federal Government” include an entity of the legislative or judicial branch, a military department or executive agency (as defined in sections 102 and 105 of title 5, respectively), the United States Postal Service, and a nonappropriated fund instrumentality under the jurisdiction of the Armed Forces.
Sections 101 through 105 of Title 5 U.S.C.
Sec. 101. The Executive departments are:
The Department of State
Sec. 102. The Military departments are:
The Department of the Army
Sec. 103. Government Corporation.
For the purpose of this title –
Sec. 104. Independent establishment
For the purpose of this title, "independent establishment" means -
For the purpose of this title,
Pursuant to Chapter 91 of Title 31 U.S.C., the Commission has determined that all wholly owned Government corporations clearly fall under the jurisdiction of the JWOD Act. With respect to mixed-ownership Government Corporations, the Commission makes case-by-case determinations based upon the mixed-ownership Government Corporation’s statute.
Sec. 9101. Definitions
In this chapter--
(1) "Government corporation" means a mixed-ownership Government corporation and a wholly owned Government corporation.
(2) "mixed-ownership Government corporation" means -
Note: When the Commission determines that based upon the law establishing a mixed-ownership Government corporation, it is not clear that said corporation must abide by the JWOD Act, the corporation remains eligible to voluntarily purchase AbilityOne supplies and/or services. Such entities supporting socioeconomic goals would likely choose to support the AbilityOne Program.
Examples--Smithsonian Institution, Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Reserve Board.
A very limited number of government entities have been authorized to create a procurement system that does not follow the Federal Acquisition Regulations. However, the Commission encourages those entities to purchase AbilityOne products and services also.