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Opening Statement of Hon. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity

Some of the witnesses testifying before the Subcommittee today may recall that we previously held a Federal Contract Compliance hearing on May 14, 2009.  In that hearing, we received testimony from stakeholders highlighting several concerns:

  • The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs lacked the resources to enforce Federal laws;
  • The VETS-100 list was not available for public viewing; and
  • Job listings, as required by VEVRAA, were not available or easily accessible to veterans seeking employment.

Unfortunately, the written testimonies we received for today’s hearing express the same sentiments, such as limited outreach efforts by contractors and a failure to post announcements in the appropriate job listing services.  This hearing is an important one that seeks to build upon our previous hearing and hold all responsible parties accountable in ensuring our veterans are provided the employment opportunities they rightfully deserve.

As many of my colleagues know, the Department of Defense, along with the Department of Veterans Affairs, are the top federal agencies with regards to contracting opportunities.  Contractors are not only required to meet their contractual obligations but are also required to meet legal authorities that are in place to provide employment opportunities to disabled veterans, combat veterans and recently discharged veterans, in addition to preventing discrimination against certain individuals.  While DOD was unable to be here with us for this important hearing, I am glad to have VA present so we can learn more about how they enforce existing laws.

I look forward to hearing from stakeholders and Administration representatives to determine if Congressional action is needed to address some of the concerns raised in our previous hearing.