Will privatizing the VA help veterans? — video
Robb Mandelbaum, Contributor
Back in the fall, small business advocates were aghast to discover that the U.S. Senate, a champion of small business when it comes to speechifying, had crafted a defense authorization bill that threatened to cut federal government contracts to small companies by as much as a 25 percent.
The legislation in question was Section 838 of the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which appeared to allow the Department of Defense to count subcontracts with small businesses on big weapons programs against the agency’s prime contract goals. Under current law, the Defense Department, like every other federal agency, must set separate goals for prime contracts awarded to small firms and subcontracts awarded to them. The Pentagon spends 60 percent of all federal contracting dollars eligible to go to small businesses; if the provision had become law, it could have replaced as much as $22 billion in prime contracts with subcontracts.