On May 18, the House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation (H.R. 1382) that would allow the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to give a “preference,” in awarding contracts for the procurement of goods and services, to offerors who employ veterans on a full-time basis. The act was sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) and is titled, the “Boosting Rates of American Veteran Employment Act” or the “BRAVE Act.”
Currently, the VA gives preference on contracts for veteran-owned small businesses but not businesses that actively employ veterans. Under the BRAVE Act, the VA would have the power to provide and determine what preference a contractor is given based on the offeror’s percentage of employees that are veterans. The Act, however, does not specify or define what sort of “preference” the VA could provide to contractors. Furthermore, the Act would allow the imposition of penalties for any contractor who willfully misrepresents the veteran status of their employees in order to receive the preference. The penalty for such misrepresentation would be debarment from contracting with the VA for at least five years. There appears to be no limitation on what types of companies can receive this preference, encompassing large and small businesses alike.
The BRAVE Act was received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs on May 20.