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Bipartisan House bill to help veteran business contracting with GSA
Published on 06/12/2017

A bipartisan bill that aims to increase the number of service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) and veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs) doing work with the General Services Administration (GSA) is working it's way through the U.S. House of Representatives.

To boost SDVOSB and VOSB contracting, the bill requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to work with the GSA to ensure that SDVOSBs and VOSBs are receiving the contracting opportunities they are entitled to under law.

One of the sponsors of the bill, Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL) has described the bill as closing a loophole in the Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act of 2006. The bill follows a 2016 case in which the Supreme Court ruled that a 2006 act requires the VA to give preference to SDVOSBs and VOSBs in all the VAs contracts - and that this requirement cannot be selectively applied, as long as at least two businesses can be expected to bid on a contract and that the winner can carry out the contract at a reasonable prince.

Both Rep. Dunn and co-sponsor Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) have argued that prior to the decision the VA was getting around the requirements of the law by making orders under a form of government-wide contract that was administered by the GSA, which was not governed by the preference requirements the VA is subject to.

In expanding the obligation of the GSA to send contracts to SDVOSBs and VOSBs, the bill would expand opportunities for those businesses when the VA works with the GSA.

Representative Phil Roe (R-TN), chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, has also expressed support for the new bill.

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