Joint Hearing of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the U.S. Senate and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives at 1:00 p.m. CDT.
Opening Statement of Hon. John Boozman, Ranking Republican Member, and a Representative in Congress from the State of Arkansas
Madame Chairwoman, it is important that contracting processes promote small business development, especially those owned by veterans and service-disabled veterans. In the 109th Congress, you and I passed what may be called landmark legislation that improved opportunities for veteran and service-disabled veteran-owned business at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
This hearing is not about bashing large businesses…in fact, I suspect the goal of most entrepreneurs is to be successful and outgrow their small business status. Large companies have capabilities vital to the national economy that cannot be replicated by small business. But small business also provides a significant portion of the nation’s jobs and creative thinking and that too is vital to our economy. I believe Ms. Wolford’s testimony provides a good snapshot of that contribution.
I want to hear from the witnesses, especially those representing the government, how we can ensure that our veteran entrepreneurs get their fair share of the federal procurement pie. Based on their written testimony, I believe we will need to tighten up the procurement changes we made in PL 109-461 and I would like to work with you, Madame Chairwoman to make that happen.
There is also another serious problem facing small business and that is the diversion of dollars meant for small businesses to companies that are often mega-corporations. While there are sometimes valid reasons such as a company outgrowing its small business status over the period of a long contract, an article in the July 16 issue of Defense News states that 37% of small business set-aside dollars, about $11.9 billion went to the nation’s largest companies.
What we will hear today will be valuable to our work with VA, but I urge you to present their case to the Small Business Committee and other committees with jurisdiction over federal agencies.
I yield back.