SBA promises support for veterans

The Small Business Administration has not ended its support for veteran-owned businesses, despite a statement issued earlier this week by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), an SBA spokesman said today.

According to Kerry's statement, the Bush administration had shut down SBA's Office of Federal Contract Assistance for Veteran Business Owners, which Kerry described as the only SBA department solely dedicated to helping veterans get contracts.

SBA spokesman Mike Stamler said the office's functions were shifted to SBA's Office of Veterans Business Development, a move intended to consolidate resources and provide more efficient service.

"The function is moving to an office with more staff, so our expectation is that service will be improved," he said.

Kerry also warned that the Bush administration did not plan to renew the charter of SBA's Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs. Stamler said the statute creating that committee specified that its duties, authorities and responsibilities would expire Sept. 30, 2006. The committee would then fold into the National Veterans Business Development Corp.

"The SBA is simply implementing the statute," he said.

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