Opening Statement of Hon. Joe Donnelly, Ranking Democratic Member, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
This hearing today will provide the Subcommittee the opportunity to review the contracting practices throughout the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and ongoing contractor fraud and abuse.
Last year, during the 111th Congress the Committee conducted a hearing in which we heard from both the U.S. Government Accountability Office and the VA Office of Inspector General on their ongoing investigations on service disabled veteran-owned small businesses contract fraud. It was in 2009 that we learned that too often non-veteran owned small businesses continue to defraud the system and take away contracting opportunities that well deserved veterans have earned. It was during that hearing that we also learned about ten firms that were under investigation for fraud. Today, we will hear about what happened after the GAO report was published and what actions VA took against these ten firms.
Furthermore, the VA OIG projects that VA awarded 1,400 contracts valued at $500 million annually to ineligible businesses. They project VA will award over $2.5 billion over the next five years unless oversight and oversight and verification procedures are improved!
Finally, I would like to learn what steps the VA has taken to prevent small businesses from claiming SDVOSB set-aside contracts and the progress they have made to certify veteran owned small businesses.
I look forward to hearing from all of our panelists here today and any suggestions they may have on how we can discourage individuals from abusing veterans programs.
Thank you and I yield back.