Washington, D.C. - Today, Reps. General Jack Bergman (R-Mich.), Annie Kuster (D-Conn.), and Dr. Neal Dunn (R-Fla.) reintroduced the Protecting Business Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2019 to protect Service Disabled Veteran Owned and Veteran Owned Small Businesses.
“Weeding out fraud in the VA system is a much-needed step in making sure our Veterans get the treatment they’ve earned from VA,” said Bergman, the bill’s sponsor. “That’s why the Protecting Business Opportunities for Veterans Act is so essential. This legislation will help protect Service Disabled Veteran Owned and Veteran-Owned Small Businesses by allowing VA to identify and penalize bad actors who obtain contracts and collect profit while improperly ‘passing through’ all the work to other companies. The vast majority of these businesses are working hard for their families and communities, and protecting those efforts is the right thing to do.”
“Improving economic opportunity for veteran and directing federal contracts to veteran owned small businesses is one of the most effective ways we can support our servicemembers when they return to civilian life,” said Kuster, who is an original cosponsor of the bill. “We need to ensure that bad actors do not take advantage of programs intended to benefit our men and women who have served in uniform. I’m proud to join General Bergman in introducing this legislation that will protect veteran owned small businesses in VA’s contracting process.”
"This bill ensures that veteran-owned small businesses are put on a level playing field with larger companies when it comes to government contracts, said Dunn, the other original cosponsor of the legislation." America’s veterans fought for our freedoms at home and abroad, we should be doing everything in our power to support these heroes when they enter civilian life. I commend General Bergman for his commitment to ensuring our veteran-owned small businesses get a fair shake when dealing with the government.”
The Protecting Business Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2019 would require participants in the Vets First Program to certify that they are performing the required percentage of work and directs VA to refer suspected violators to the Office of the Inspector General for investigation. The bill also directs the VA Secretary to consider whether existing administrative and criminal penalties for fraudulent representation would apply in each case. Read more about this legislation here.