Fraud Prevention Act Moves to House
S. 633 Requires Agencies to Verify SDVOSB Status
(Washington, DC — SDVOSB News Services, September 22, 2011) — The “Small Business Contracting Fraud Prevention Act of 2011” (S. 633) was passed by the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship with unanimous consent on September 21. The bill mandates that all federal agencies verify SDVOSB status through the Veterans Administration’s VetBiz database of certified SDVOSB. All federal Contracting Officers would verify SDVOSB status of businesses that bid on government contracts before contracts are awarded.
The Senate Committee, chaired by Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), referred the measure on September 22 to the House Small Business Committee, chaired by Representative Sam Graves (R-MO). Senate 633 was introduced on March 17, 2011 by Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME).
After Senate passage of the bill, Senator Snowe commented in a press release: “This legislation is a critical step toward ensuring all our nation’s [SDVOSB] compete fairly in the Federal marketplace. . .”
Currently, businesses ’self-certify’ that they are owned and controlled by SDVOSB and eligible for contracting preference. This legislation would eliminate self-certification, reserve federal set-aside contract opportunities for bona fide SDVOSB and reduce the pool of companies bidding on these contracts. At this time, only the Veterans Administration requires verification of SDVOSB before a contract is awarded.
“Self-certification — the ’honor system’— has always been a tough pill for me to swallow,” said Ralph Baxter, a certified disabled veteran small business owner from Frederick, Maryland. “Anyone can claim to be a disabled veteran and get away with it. The federal government is getting closer to the contracting preferences that were mandated [by PL 106-50] for disabled veterans.”
The bill also toughens penalties for falsification in the SDVOSB set-aside programs by increasing criminal prosecutions, suspensions and debarments.
Hearings in the House Small Business Committee have not been scheduled.
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Hardy Stone is the editor/publisher of VetLikeMe, the nation’s only publication devoted to service disabled veteran owned business.