U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, a senior member of the Senate Small Business Committee, is urging the federal government to fulfill its commitment to prioritizing veteran-owned small businesses when awarding government contracts.
Currently the federal government is required to allocate 3 percent of government prime contracts and subcontracts each year to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. In a letter to Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabella Guzman, Ernst highlighted the federal government’s failure to meet this commitment.
In the letter, Ernst writes: “Fulfilling our promises to service-disabled veteran small business owners is not simply a suggestion but an obligation of the federal government. It is a law that should not, and cannot, be ignored. Despite this mandate, the SBA has yet to develop a strategy to ensure that federal agencies reach these government-wide goals.”
Ernst continues: “Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. As such, it is vitally important to ensure that the federal government maintains the integrity of the promises made to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses related to federal procurement.”
The SBA found that the federal government failed to meet the overall prime contracting goal for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses for two out of the last ten years, and failed to meet the subcontracting goal for all of the last ten years.
Ernst has previously pushed for oversight and modernization in government contracting, including a measure to boost innovation in the procurement process and increase contracting opportunities for small businesses. Last month she also introduced the CONSULT Act, which would put measures in place to prevent companies that are working with countries like China, Iran, or Russia from holding consulting contracts with the U.S. government.