Kuster Legislation to Protect Veteran-Owned Small Businesses Passes House
Washington, DC, February 26, 2020
Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02) issued the following statement on yesterday’s House passage of her legislation, the Protecting Business Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2019, which she introduced last year. This legislation would require businesses participating in the Vets First Program to verify that they are doing the required percentage of work and directs the VA to refer suspected violators to the Office of the Inspector General for investigation.
“When a business has the privilege of being awarded a contract through the Vets First Program, they must keep their end of the bargain and perform the work that is required of them,” said Kuster. “This legislation helps enforce that basic fairness and prevents businesses that are doing everything they should be doing from being unfairly ignored for contracting opportunities. It also holds those taking advantage of the system accountable. I was proud to introduce this commonsense legislation and I will continue my work to support our veterans and ensure they have access to the services they deserve.”
There is a persistent problem of unfair and wrongful “pass-throughs” in the Vets First Program, where businesses profit from the contract they are awarded while doing little to no work. This results in Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses and Veteran-Owned Small Businesses that play by the rules being sidelined for contracting opportunities by bad actors abusing the system. Although pass-throughs are prohibited by law, the VA currently lacks the tools to detect them and enforce the rules. Kuster sat on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs for six years, where she introduced the Protecting Business Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2017. Information about the bill can be found here.