Congressman Glenn Nye
Chairman, House Subcommittee on Contracting and Technology
VetLikeMe interviewed Mr. Nye on June 9 from Capitol Hill.
VLM: Executive Order 13540 (EO) issued by the President on April 26, 2010 established an Interagency Task Force (TF) on Veterans Small Business Development, specifically to assist service-disabled veteran owned small businesses (SDVOSB) in the federal marketplace. Does this indicate a renewed sense of urgency for the government to observe the mandated goals of PL PUBLIC LAW 106-50: THE VETERANS ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT ACT OF 1999?
Mr. Nye: My hope is, it does. As Chairman of the Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Technology, I have made SDVOSB contracting a priority. The very first hearing I held, in March 2009, called upon the executive agencies to put in place a plan to ensure they would meet their SDVOSB contracting goal with the funds they received from the Recovery Act.
…More than just creating a plan to get agencies to meet their goals, this Task Force should work to ensure there are proper oversight controls in place to protect against fraud in the system. Furthermore, much can be done to better coordinate the SBA with the Center for Veterans Enterprise. [CVA] is the first point of contact for an aspiring veteran entrepreneur. … Instead of creating multiple hoops for a veteran business owner, the government should create a more seamless coordination among these important programs.
VLM: On November 19, 2009, you introduced H.R. 4125: Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Procurement Reform Act of 2009. Do you expect the bill to make it out of Committee?
Mr. Nye: I do. Later this summer I plan to reauthorize the small business federal contracting programs in my subcommittee. It is clear that reforms are needed in our contracting programs and H.R. 4125 will be one important part of those reforms.
VLM: Since PL 106-50 in 1999, DOD has consistently ranked among the worst of federal agencies in meeting the 3% goal. Representing a Virginia district where a substantial number of disabled vets operate businesses, will you press DOD to observe the mandate?
Mr. Nye: Absolutely. Linda Oliver, the Acting Director of the Office of Small Business Programs at the DoD, testified at the March 2009 hearing as to the DoD’s disappointing record of contracting with SDVOSBs. I will continue to press the DoD, and all of the armed services, to meet their contracting goal. The DoD must step-up their efforts and support those who risked their lives supporting them. The DoD has the largest share of the federal contracting market. Especially for businesses in the Hampton Roads area, where the military is so prevalent, it is vital to our businesses and local economies that they meet their goals.
VLM: SBA is an enforcement agency. Should it be SBA’s responsibility to monitor and hold non-compliant agencies accountable?
Mr. Nye: Yes – it is the responsibility of the SBA to monitor and enforce small business contracting rules over all federal agencies. I’m pleased that Administrator Mills agrees with me here. At the hearing in November 2009, when the GAO report first came out, Administrator Mills stated that it was the SBA’s responsibility. I look forward to the SBA proving good on that statement and taking action against these fraudulent companies.
VLM: SBA has been tasked with chairing this TF. Given SBA’s performance at meeting the mandate (.85%), is there not a more successful federal agency – such as the VA (11.76%) – that you think would be more effective chairing the TF?
Mr. Nye: I believe it is imperative that the two agencies create a stronger partnership concerning our veteran contracting programs. Without both agencies working together to make this program strong, there will continue to be gaps in the system. As the agency responsible for upholding small business contracting goals, the SBA needs to set an example, and meet if not exceed, all their contracting goals.~~
Hardy Stone is the editor/publisher of VetLikeMe, the nation’s only publication devoted to service disabled veteran owned business.