WASHINGTON – Democratic Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell of Washington state say the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) needs to do a better job overseeing a federal program that aims to help small businesses that are owned and operated by disabled veterans.
The senators are questioning the effectiveness of the program, noting that as many as 1,400 contracts were awarded to ineligible businesses last year.
The program is operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE). In 2006, in an attempt to support businesses run by disabled veterans, Congress created the Veterans First contracting preference program. Congress asked the VA to implement procedures to verify the ownership and control of the businesses seeking to participate in Veterans First.
But in a letter to the Government Accountability Office, the senators wrote that “it appears VA may need to better develop the tools, resources and capacity necessary for an effective, timely and efficient verification process.”
The letter was also signed by Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri.