Bush approves set-asides for veterans

President Bush has signed a bill that creates a new small-business set-aside category for companies owned by veterans who were disabled during military service.

The Veterans Benefits Act of 2003 elevates such businesses to the same status as 8(a) or woman-owned firms, according to advocates. It allows agencies to provide sole-source contracts of up to $5 million to manufacturing businesses and up to

$3 million for other procurements. Contracting officers can also conduct competitions limited to such companies.

Now comes the harder part, said John Moliere, president of Standard Communications Inc. and a Vietnam War veteran. "All we need is for our brethren in the government to use it. I think they will."

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