U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., scored a win on Wednesday as his bill giving more federal contracts to small businesses owned by veterans is headed to the House floor. 

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. 

After being passed without opposition by the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations earlier in the month, the full House Veterans Affairs Committee passed the bill on Wednesday. 

“We need to ensure that we are holding the VA accountable to the veterans it serves,” Dunn, who served more than a decade as an Army surgeon, said. “We must remain dedicated to serving our troops once they return to civilian life.”

The bill has the support of U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee. 

“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 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.”

U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., was an original co-sponsor of the bill. Republican U.S. Reps. Jack Bergman of Michigan and Mike Bost of Illinois are also 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.”

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