A Republican-sponsored amendment in the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would incentivize businesses claiming to be “veteran-owned” to formally certify as such to receive government contracts, Military.com reported.
The Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program allows the government to limit competition for some federal contracts to businesses owned by veterans.
Under the provision from Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), self-certifying veteran-owned small businesses would not be included in the government’s goal of having 3 percent of federal contracting dollars going to veteran-owned businesses.
While it will not eliminate self-certification or stop self-certified businesses from being awarded federal contracts, the amendment does seek to incentivize government agencies to award contracts to formally-certified businesses instead.
In a statement to Military.com, Senator Ernst, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services and Small Business Committees, said she was grateful that her amendment passed with bipartisan support and will be included in the NDAA. She said as the first woman combat veteran in the Senate, she knows that US service members have the “leadership abilities” necessary to be “successful small-business owners.”
The Senate version of the NDAA must first be squared with the House version before Ernst’s amendment is included in the FY2024 defense spending bill.
In the FY2021 NDAA, Congress included a provision requiring the Small Business Administration to establish a certification process for veteran-owned small businesses. Previously, businesses only needed to self-certify to be awarded a contract.
The Small Business Administration argued that self-certification for veteran-owned businesses was consistent with other programs, like the Women-Owned Small Business Program.
According to Military.com, the Small Business Administration said it would do a comprehensive review of self-certification programs and expects to sunset any self-certification within five years.
Applying for formal certification takes a business about three hours and costs $280.32, according to the Small Business Administration.