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U.S. AbilityOne Commission

James M. Kesteloot, Chairperson
Tina Ballard, Executive Director

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Laws, Regulations
and Policy

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 Originally enacted in 1938 and amended and expanded in 1971 by the Javits-Wagner-O’Day (JWOD) Act, the AbilityOne Program is the largest employer of people who are blind or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
    The Department of the Treasury
    The Department of Defense
    The Department of Justice
    The Department of the Interior
    The Department of Agriculture
    The Department of Commerce
    The Department of Labor
    The Department of Health and Human Services
    The Department of Housing and Urban Development
    The Department of Transportation
    The Department of Energy
    The Department of Education
    The Department of Veterans Affairs
    The Department of Homeland Security

Sec. 102. The Military departments are:

    The Department of the Army
    The Department of the Navy
    The Department of the Air Force

Sec. 103. Government Corporation.

    For the purpose of this title –
    (1) "Government corporation" means a corporation owned or controlled by the Government of the United States; and
    (2) "Government controlled corporation" does not include a corporation owned by the Government of the United States.

Sec. 104. Independent establishment

    For the purpose of this title, "independent establishment" means -
    (1) an establishment in the executive branch (other than the United States Postal Service or the Postal Regulatory Commission) which is not an Executive department, military department,
    Government corporation, or part thereof, or part of an independent establishment; and
    (2) the Government Accountability Office.

For the purpose of this title,
"Executive agency" means an Executive department, a Government corporation, and an independent establishment.

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 -

    (A) the Central Bank for Cooperatives.
    (B) the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
    (C) the Federal Home Loan Banks.
    (D) the Federal Intermediate Credit Banks.
    (E) the Federal Land Banks.
    (F) the National Credit Union Administration Central Liquidity Facility
    (G) the Regional Banks for Cooperatives.
    (H) the Rural Telephone Bank when the ownership, control, and operation of the Bank are converted under section 410(a) of the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 (7 U.S.C. 950(a)).
    (I) the Financing Corporation.
    (J) the Resolution Trust Corporation.
    (K) the Resolution Funding Corporation.

(3) "wholly owned government corporation" means--

(A) the Commodity Credit Corporation.
(B) the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.
(C) the Export-Import Bank of the United States.
(D) the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation.
(E) Federal Prison Industries, Incorporated.
(F) the Corporation for National and Community Service.
(G) the Government National Mortgage Association.
(H) the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
(I) the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation.
(J) the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
(K) the Rural Telephone Bank until the ownership, control, and operation of the Bank are
converted under section 410(a) of the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 (7 U.S.C. 950(a)).
(L) the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.
(M) the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development when carrying out duties and powers related to the Federal Housing Administration Fund.
(N) the Tennessee Valley Authority.
(O) Repealed. Pub. L. 104-134, title III, Sec. 3117(a), Apr.26, 1996: 110 Stat. 1321-350.
(P) the Panama Canal Commission.
(Q) the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
(R) the International Clean Energy Foundation.

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.

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