On the Hill
…with veteran business legislation
On the Hill is a regular column in VetLikeMe that tracks and reviews legislation important to veterans and veteran-owned businesses.
Review of legislation taken up by our 112th Congress:
HR 4048 Sponsor: Bill Johnson (R-OH) Introduced: February 16, 2012 Referred: House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
Gov Track prediction–2%; VLM prediction–Dead. Virtually all VSOs (except VLM), weighed in on this measure. Most thought it a positive for SDVOSB. We did not. VLM thought it minimized PL 109-461.
H.R. 3850: Government Efficiency through Small Business Contracting Act of 2012 Rep. Samuel “Sam” Graves [R-MO6] Introduced: Jan 31, 2012 House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform House Committee on Small Business – passed
GovTrack: 29% –VLM: Better than average chance of President signing
Maybe 2013 will be a better year, it’s got a good start. PA Representative Mike Fitzgerald intends to introduce “The Fairness to Veterans Act” very soon. We can only hope. More in VLM 4.1 published today.
In the meantime, lets have a look at the bills that died in Committee at the hands of the Congress during 2011. Reviewing the legislation that stalled out in the 112th Congress:
2011 Proposed Legislation:
HR 3438: To require the Department of Defense to meet the annual goal for participation in procurement contracts by small business concerns owned and controlled by veterans with service-connected disabilities. Sponsor: Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) Introduced: November 17, 2011 Referred: House Armed Services Committee, House Small Business Committee.
– GovTrack–4%, VLM prediction–Will not pass Committee—went nowhere
S. 1154: Honoring Promises to Service-Disabled Veterans Act of 2011 Requires transparency for Executive departments in meeting the Government-wide goals for contracting with small business concerns owned and controlled by SDVOSB. Introduced: June 7, 2011 by Senator Max Baucus (D-MT); co-sponsors: Harkin, Vitter Referred: Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
– GovTrack: 4%–VLM Dead—went nowhere
S. 1184: To amend title 38, United States Code To revise the enforcement penalties for SDVOSB misrepresentation Introduced: June 13, 2011 by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Referred: Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs Introduced in House of Representatives: April 15, 2011 by Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) Activity: May 23, 2011: passed in the House by roll call vote.
– GovTrack: 2% chance—VLM: Dead—went nowhere
HR 240: To amend title 38, United States Code Requires (current law authorizes) a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) contracting officer to award contracts to small businesses owned and controlled by veterans using other than competitive procedures for contracts above the simplified acquisition threshold. Introduced: Jan 7, 2011 by Rep. Robert Filner (D-CA) Referred: House Veterans Affairs Committee, hearings held by Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity.
– GovTrack: 2%, VLM: Dead—went nowhere
S. 633: Small Business Contracting and Fraud Prevention Act of 2011 Requires that SDVOSB/VOSB are verified by all federal agencies…ends self-certification… Introduced: March 17, 2011 by Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) Referred to House Small Business Committee.
– GovTrack: 9%–VLM: Roll over, Rosie, this one is stagnating in the House Small Business Committee (Sam Graves R-Missouri, Chairman). Internal feuds in the veteran service organizations and lobby efforts make this improbable, although it was passed unanimously by the Senate.
Please go back and reread the last sentence. “…although it was passed unanimously by the Senate.” What’s happening here? Politics is happening here, my fellow veteran business owners. In Washington’s incendiary game of cat and mouse, veterans are the bait and the hostage. Sure, helping veterans is the right thing to do anytime, but we’re only a pawn in their game. A pawn without a voice. But pawns never have a voice.
It’s easy to talk a good game. It’s much harder to stand by your words regardless of what happens politically. In the situation we’re in now, the Republicans run the House of Representatives, and anything pushed by Democrats is turned away. But it also works the same way with the Democrats in charge. It’s even worse when a group supposedly operating in our interest plays a card against us. S. 633 was introduced by a Republican Senator, yet it was stalled by the House Small Business Committee.
Some in Washington said of S. 633: “It’s a bad bill that harms some veteran owned businesses.” Get the bill passed and then go back and work the details. Fraud is the chief reason that veterans get the shaft. And why do we get the shaft? Because we’re an easy target. Because we have no pressure group. That’s how VetLikeMe got its start. We’re an easy target, a target that’s not moving. Sad to say, isn’t it?~~ Hardy Stone