Congressman Sam Graves (MO-06), Chairman of the House Small Business Committee, today made the following statement regarding this week's Washington Post investigative special report regarding the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) contracting certification processes and abuses by several contractors:
"The Washington Post's investigative report alleges an appalling abuse of taxpayer money," said Congressman Graves. "The VA does a lot of good things, but determining if a firm is a small business is not one of them. I look forward to passing the Improving Opportunities for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses Act of 2013, so that we can prevent these abuses. The Small Business Committee is also carefully examining these issues to determine if the Small Business Act was violated. We are preparing document requests for the relevant agencies and their response will inform our future actions."
In July, Graves joined House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL), Congressman Richard Hanna (R-NY), and Congressman Mike Coffman (R-CO) in introducing the Improving Opportunities for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses Act of 2013 (HR 2882) to reform the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) procurement programs and save taxpayer money.
Currently, the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the VA operate procurement programs for SDVOSBs, however, differences in the definitions, processes and interpretation between the agencies cause inconsistent decisions as to which firms qualify for contracts. A SDVOSB can qualify at one agency and not another for procurement preferences. This inconsistency often adds cost, confusion, and opens the door to fraud. HR 2882 transfers the VA business certification and verification process to SBA, unifies the definitions of SDVOSB and Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB), and adds transparency and predictability to the process by creating an appellate process by which a SDVOSB can challenge an agency decision.