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Ranking Member Chabot and House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Roe Reintroduce the VA-SBA Act

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Washington, March 8, 2019 | comments

Ranking Member Chabot and House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Roe Reintroduce the VA-SBA Act

WASHINGTON - Today, House Committee on Small Business Ranking Member Steve Chabot (R-OH) and House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) released statements following the reintroduction of legislation to better enable the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to fulfill their designated responsibilities and streamline programs within the agencies.  H.R. 1615, the Verification Alignment and Service-Disabled Business Adjustment (VA-SBA) Act, was introduced by Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS) and has bipartisan support from both committees.

Currently, SBA certifies small businesses that participate in federal contracting preference programs. However, Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB) are the exception – they are verified by VA to qualify for VA contracts, and are uniquely allowed to self-certify through SBA to obtain federal contracts from all other federal government agencies. The ability of SDVOSBs to do so has led to years of fraud, waste, and abuse, as it has allowed companies not owned by service-disabled veterans to take advantage of the system. It also has created two separate classes of SDVOSBs: those that are verified by VA, and those that have self-certified at SBA. The VA-SBA Act would require SBA to certify all SDVOSB applications, as it does for all other small businesses, and would preserve the unique Veteran Owned Small Business contracting preference at the VA.

“Our nation’s veterans learn skills while serving that make them top notch entrepreneurs,” said Ranking Member Chabot. “With 2.52 million small businesses majority-owned by veterans, it’s important they have access to the resources they need to start a small business without the red tape and confusion that can come from government agencies. The VA-SBA Act will open doors for veteran-owned small businesses and expedite the process of becoming an entrepreneur. I look forward to ensuring veterans are able to continue their contributions to the American economy. I thank the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Roe, Rep. Kelly, and Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Ranking Member General Jack Bergman for their dedication and leadership to ensure this program gets a necessary update. America’s heroes deserve the full support of Congress in all aspects of life, especially as they work to bring their business dreams to life.”

“Different treatment of SDVOSBs depending on which federal agency they contract with is confusing and inefficient," said Ranking Member Roe. "VA requires a rigorous verification process, while other agencies allow nearly anyone to self-certify. This situation has created more problems than good, and it is high time to fix it. Bad actors are taking advantage of this exception and companies that are not owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans are fraudulently representing themselves to obtain contracts. This legislation fixes the disparity in the law and ensures that SBA is able to fully manage all small business certifications, as they should, and allows the workforce VA to focus on their core mission. I am grateful to full Committee Ranking Member Chabot, subcommittee Ranking Member Bergman and Rep. Kelly for their efforts to provide this necessary reform to the law.”

“Service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) and veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs) are essential components of our nation’s small business operations,” said Rep. Kelly. “It is important that we relieve regulatory burdens that make it more difficult for them to compete for government contracts. Additionally, it is vital that the process become more streamlined which is the purpose of this important legislation.”

"This legislation is the result of a close partnership between our two committees," said Rep. Jack Bergman. "Rep. Kelly and I convened a joint oversight hearing to study the issue last July, and after months of consultation with the veterans service organizations, the veteran small business community and the agencies, the VA-SBA Act is a sound solution.  It will make the federal government operate more efficiently and logically by instituting badly needed safeguards in the SDVOSB contracting program. Every contract that gets siphoned off by a fraudulent company denies a service-disabled veteran entrepreneur a contracting opportunity that he or she earned. The loophole that allows this to happen must be closed."

“Veterans are uniquely qualified and have a valuable perspective as they start and manage small businesses. They have also proven to go above and beyond to hire other veterans, including those who have been injured in the line of duty. This bill reduces confusion and ensures we cut back on unnecessary red tape so our government can provide the support and resources our veterans deserve," said Rep. Jason Crow. “There is a sacred promise in America, that if you step up to serve, we will be there when you take off the uniform, and this bill does exactly that for veterans that own small businesses. I thank the Small Business Committee Chairwoman Velázquez and Ranking Member Chabot for their efforts in prioritizing support for veterans.”

Read the bill text here

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