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Veterans Contracting Equity Act.

American veterans deserve parity, and have earned the right to compete fairly.

In 1999 congress passed ?The Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999? (Public Law (PL) 106-50). This law attempted to level the playing field for our returning veterans and service disabled veterans by helping them to compete fairly in the federal market place through the establishment of a government-wide procurement goal of no less than 3%. Subsequently ?The Veterans Benefits Act of 2003? (PL 108-183), and Executive Order (EO) 13-360 were established to reinforce the intent of PL 106-50 and encourage Federal Agencies to implement the full measure of these Laws.



Since 1999, the federal government overall and most federal agencies have consistently failed to meet the 3% goal.



In September of 2008, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) released a ruling that gave HUBZone companies priority over Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB?s), and released a subsequent ruling that gave HUBZone small businesses priority over 8(a) Firms as well.



This HUBZone ruling contradicts and overrides all SDVOSB procurement mandates and all small business mandates, and was based upon the GAO interpretation of the word ?shall? versus ?may?. In other words, and as noted in the attached GAO Ruling (www.nevbrc.org/hzrule1.pdf), since there is a section of FAR that says contracts officer ?shall? consider HUB Zones, and ?may? consider other small business groups, then HUB Zone has contracting priority over all federal contracting small business categories. Based on this ruling SDVOSBs are having contracts revoked and 8(a) contracts are being removed from the 8(a) Program. The Small Business Administration (SBA), who is the preeminent authority regarding small business, protested the decision to the GAO Ruling (www.nevbrc.org/sba1.pdf) and their protest was denied by GAO.



The spirit, intent, and legal mandates contained in PL 106-50, PL 108-183, and as announced in EO 13-360 are absolutely meaningless given this GAO ruling. This ruling will cause service disabled veteran owned businesses to go out of business, and will discourage our returning veterans from even considering participation at the federal contracting level.



We ask our elected leaders to immediately reinstate and enforce the intent and direction of The Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999, and the Veterans benefits Act of 2003. Further, we expect our category to be elevated to the level of parity with the Alaskan Native American program, also known as ?Super 8(a) status?. Veterans business support has been steadily eroding over the past 10 years, this action could kill the veterans entrepreneurship contracting program permanently.



We, Service Disabled Veterans, Veterans, and friends and families of Veterans everywhere, respectfully ask that you and your fellow lawmakers initiate or sponsor legislation to effect an immediate rewrite of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), and other procurement regulations and provide Service Disabled Veterans in business with the support that they have earned. If the Senate Small Business Committee is drafting such legislation right now, please sponsor this legislation and please get it through the Legislative process as quickly as possible?the livelihoods of our returning veterans and their families depend upon your immediate action.



In the immortal words of President George Washington "The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their Nation."



For a copy of the ruling, see: wwww.nevbrc.org/hzrule1.pdf

For a copy of SBA's letter addressing the issue see: www.nevbrc.org/sba1.pdf




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