WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations unanimously passed Congressman Neal Dunn’s (FL-02) legislation to expand government contract opportunities for veteran-owned small businesses. H.R. 2781, the Ensuring Veteran Enterprise Participation in Strategic Sourcing Act, closes a loophole that is currently denying veterans all the opportunities they deserve.
Current law requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to give veterans a preference when it enters into contracts with outside vendors. However, the VA purchases routine office supplies and services through the General Services Administration (GSA), which does not share the same requirement. Consequently, there are too few veteran-owned small businesses in the GSA system from which the VA can choose, and the Supreme Court in the Kingdomware case has said this is a violation of federal law. Dr. Dunn’s bill directs the VA to work with the GSA to increase the number of veteran-owned small businesses in the portal and available for VA contracts.
“When our nation’s heroes enter civilian life, we should be doing all that we can to support their endeavors and give back to those who fought for our freedoms,” Dr. Dunn said. “Current law already requires the VA to give preference to veteran-owned small businesses, but because of a loophole in the law, some veterans are being denied this benefit. This legislation closes this loophole, ensuring we are serving our veterans with the same vigor and spirit that they served this nation.”
This bill brings added benefits to veterans, Dr. Dunn noted. Since all federal agencies use the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative, increasing the number of veteran-owned businesses participating in the portal will expand their opportunities with the rest of the government.
“America’s veterans are some of the hardest-working and best members of society, so it’s not surprising so many veterans go on to start their own small businesses,” said House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman, Dr. Phil Roe. “You can always count on veterans to get the job done, and I’m grateful for Rep. Dunn’s leadership on this commonsense bill that will protect service-disabled veteran and veteran-owned small business’ preference in receiving VA contracts. I look forward to the House considering this legislation in short order.”
The legislation is supported by leading veteran service organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.
The next step for the bill is to be passed by the entire House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, which is expected soon.
Dr. Dunn is a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and served 11 years as a surgeon in the U.S. Army.