Neal Dunn's Push for More Federal Contracts for Small Businesses Owned by Veterans Gains Steam

U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn’s, R-Fla., proposal giving more federal contracts to small businesses owned by veterans is gaining traction on Capitol Hill. 

Last month, Dunn unveiled the “Ensuring Veteran Enterprise Participation in Strategic Sourcing Act” which would make the VA and the General Services Administration (GSA) send more federal contracts to small businesses owned by veterans, closing a loophole left by the “Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act” passed in 2006. 

This week, the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, which held a hearing on the bill, passed it without opposition. 

“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,” Dunn said on Wednesday. “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.”

U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., is co-sponsoring the bill. 

“As a veteran, I understand the challenges that our service members face when they transition from military to civilian life,” Panetta said when the bill was introduced last month. “Congress should be working to serve those who served us by opening every opportunity for our veterans to thrive. This commonsense legislation will ensure that the VA continues to invest in our nation’s veteran- and service-disabled-owned small businesses by closing this loophole. I thank Congressman Dunn for his partnership in supporting our veterans, and I look forward to working with the committee and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to uphold our debt of gratitude to those who have served in our armed forces.”

The bill has the support of U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., who chairs the Veterans Affairs Committee which will be the legislation’s next stop. 

“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,” Roe said on Wednesday. “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.” 

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