Baucus bill would highlight veterans' small-business contracts

A senior senator wants to put a spotlight on agencies’ work to award contracts to service-disabled veteran small business owners.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) wants quarterly reports and continual updates to a website that lays out for the public how  the government is doing in sending work to veterans.

The bill (S. 1154) deals with veterans alone and doesn’t affect other types of small business programs, such as 8(a) Development or the new Women-Owned Small Business.


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According to the legislation, the reports to the Small Business Administration would include the percentage of all prime contracts awarded to service-disabled veterans during each quarter. And companies that agree to a small-business subcontracting goal would be named in the report.

The general information on percentages and numbers of contracts would go online for the public, as well as the SBA’s rankings of agencies’ work on getting contracts awarded to veterans.

In annual reports to Congress, SBA could note any company making outstanding progress in awarding contracts to veterans.

The government has done poorly in reaching its 3-percent contracting goal for veterans. Agencies' awards were below one percent from 2003 to 2006 before moving up slightly. The most recent figures, for 2009, show agencies awarded only 1.98 percent to service-disabled veterans. The figures included awards of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. Read the 2009 score card.

Baucus said agencies’ efforts in this area have been unacceptably low in recent years.

“Now it’s time to hold federal agencies’ feet to the fire and make sure they meet this goal,” the senator said.

The bill was sent to the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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