WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee passed H.R. 2781, the Ensuring Veteran Enterprise Participation in Strategic Sourcing Act, Congressman Neal Dunn’s (FL-02) legislation to expand government contracts for veteran-owned small businesses and ensure the Department of Veterans Affairs is complying with federal law. HR 2781 ensures the VA is complying with the law by purchasing goods from more small businesses owned by veterans.
VA is required by law to purchase goods from small businesses owned by veterans. Currently, the VA uses the General Services Administration — the middle man between the government and the private sector – to match them with suppliers of the goods they need to purchase.
All too often, the VA does not bother to check whether GSA is connecting them with small businesses owned by veterans. In 2016, the Supreme Court confirmed in theKingdomware case that the VA needed to follow the law by making sure the VA can purchase goods from small businesses owned by veterans and service disabled veterans.
Dr. Dunn’s legislation is a simple fix. It directs the VA to verify that GSA is connecting them small businesses owned by veterans. And, further, if GSA can’t point them to a small business owned by a veteran, the VA needs to work with GSA to find one before they make the purchase.
“We need to ensure that we are holding the VA accountable to the veterans it serves,” Dr. Dunn said. “We must remain dedicated to serving our troops once they return to civilian life.”
“The Department of Veterans Affairs must do everything in its power to honor its commitment to support service-disabled veteran and veteran-owned small businesses,” said House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman, Dr. Phil Roe. “I thank Rep. Dunn for his leadership to close this loophole that is denying veterans the opportunities the Supreme Court ruled they are entitled to in the Kingdomware decision, and I look forward to the House considering this bill in short order.”
Dr. Dunn’s legislation will head to the floor next, where the full House will vote on its passage. Dr. Dunn is a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and served 11 years as a surgeon in the U.S. Army.