Hon. Bruce L. Braley, Ranking Democratic Member, Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity
The opportunity we have to hold this hearing with the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations is rare but shows how important today’s topic is. By having this joint hearing, I believe it will bring to light the importance of preventing service-disabled veteran owned small business program fraud by non-veteran small business.
Providing contracting opportunities to veterans owned small businesses and service-disabled veteran owned small businesses was a preference that Congress agreed veterans and disabled veterans merited. The purpose of the three percent set-aside for SDVOSB was to increase contracting opportunities throughout the federal government; this was a right that our service-disabled veterans earned.
At this time, I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Department of Veterans Affairs for their support to VOSBs and SDVOSBs and for exceeding the government-wide goal as well as the VA’s own internal goals. This program lacks rigorous controls to prevent fraud by contractors seeking to perform under the SDVOSB program when they deliberately misrepresent themselves as such. VA has a long history of problems in its verification program but I’m please to hear that they are working through these hurdles. However, verification doesn’t only happen once, businesses are required to be re-verified yearly which means the VA needs to be prepared to have enough staff, resources, and proper guidelines to re-verify SDVOSBs.
I would like to thank my colleagues from the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations for including us in this hearing today. I look forward to today’s joint hearing and hearing from all of our panelists here today.