Presidential Memo Authorizing the Exercise of Authority under Public Law 85-804

On November 13, 2014, the President gave the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) authorization to exercise authority under Public Law 85-804, as amended (50 U.S.C. 1431 et seq.), to the same extent and subject to the same conditions and limitations as the head of an executive department or agency listed in section 21 of Executive Order 10789 of November 14, 1958, as amended, with respect to contracts performed in Africa in support of USAID’s response to the Ebola outbreak where the contractor, its employees, or subcontractors will have significant exposure to Ebola. This authority may be exercised solely for the purpose of holding harmless and indemnifying contractors with respect to claims, losses, or damage arising out of or resulting from exposure, in the course of performance of the contracts, to Ebola.

This means that contractors will be able to receive additional compensation, or contract relief, for expenditures or liabilities associated with exposure to Ebola. Granting of equitable relief is discretionary, and organizations must exhaust existing contractual or administrative avenues first. The consideration of an organization’s request for relief is by a Contract Adjustment Board appointed by the head of an agency.

We will provide future updates as developments unfold relative to this Executive Order. In the meantime, contractors or Federal assistance recipients should maintain detailed documentation and communication with USAID to the extent that they believe they are dealing with circumstances that may lead to a request for relief under Public Law 85-804.