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house Bill H.R. 2109

Should the VA Give Preference to Contractors That Employ More Veterans in Full-Time Jobs?

Argument in favor

Veterans have unique skills and experiences that equip them to excel in the civilian workforce — encouraging businesses to hire veterans by giving them preference for VA contracts will help veterans gain employment with these companies.

Kodiwodi's Opinion
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06/23/2019
I like the idea but I think preference should be given to those who hire not only vets but disabled veterans and minority veterans.
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jimK's Opinion
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06/24/2019
Preferences in hiring veterans to provide contracted services in support of veterans. Hell yes. Seems like like a natural fit.
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DrCindyBean's Opinion
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06/23/2019
Yes. Boost rates of American veterans employment!
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Argument opposed

Recent unemployment statistics show that the veteran unemployment rate is actually lower, rather than higher than, the non-veteran unemployment rate so there’s no need to encourage VA contractors to hire veterans.

I.Got.an.Idea...'s Opinion
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06/24/2019
This may lend itself to violations. So then a contractor hires 80% veterans and no other contractor has the opportunity to hire as many, so then they lose on nearly all bid qualifications. Another issue, is a company who knows they have a higher percentage of vets will likely be chosen based on percentage of veterans and they increase their bids by $2 million, knowing they will get the contract. You still need to take the lowest responsible bid, regardless of these considerations. So, if you just add the veterans metric to the Request for Qualifications, it could be used “weighted” to help qualify a Contractor, but it should not be an ultimate deciding factor.
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Pc's Opinion
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06/23/2019
Nope, competition is about saving taxpayer dollars. Contractor firms already hire qualified vets...no need to add political showmanship to this.
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eliyak's Opinion
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06/23/2019
The VA should hire the most qualified people for the job. But it should really be abolished in favor of vouchers.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Economic Opportunity
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedApril 4th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 2109?

This bill — the Boosting Rates of American Veteran Employment (BRAVE) Act — would authorize the Dept.t of Veterans Affairs (VA) to give preference to contractors for the procurement of goods or services based on the percentage of the company’s full-time employees who are veterans. It’d also authorize the VA to debar any contractor determined to have willfully and intentionally misrepresented the veteran status of its employees for at least five years.

The debarment would apply all of the contractors’ principals individually for at least five years. The VA would commence debarment actions within 30 days after determining that the contractor misrepresented veteran status, and would complete debarment actions within 90 days.

Impact

Veterans; government contractors; and the VA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2109

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to reward companies that hire veterans by giving them preference when competing for VA contracts:

“One of the biggest problems facing our veterans right now, especially those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, is finding good jobs in civilian life. We’ve seen progress in recent years, but the unemployment rate among post-9/11 veterans is still higher than the national average – and that’s completely unacceptable. Our veterans have received the best training in the world. They have unique skills and experience that can’t be acquired anywhere but in the United States military. They have what it takes to excel in the civilian workforce – and they don’t need charity. They don’t need a handout. They just need the opportunity. The BRAVE Act will reward companies that provide that opportunity – it gives them an advantage in securing federal contracts, and that creates an incentive for other contractors to step up and do the same, to make it a priority to actively invest in our veterans. And I have no doubt that as contractors hire more veterans, they’ll realize that it’s a smart investment. That’s really what this bill is all about. We don’t just want people to hire veterans because it’s the right thing to do – we want them to realize it’s a smart investment. We want them to recognize that it’s in their own self-interest to actively hire men and women who are highly-trained, highly-skilled and know how to get the job done, whatever job it is. That’s the goal. That’s how we’ll solve this problem and ensure that every single man and woman who served our country can find a good job and succeed in civilian life.”

Veterans of Foreign Wars’ (VFW) Deputy Legislative Director Aleks Morosky, expressing his organization’s support for this bill when Rep. Rice introduced it in the 114th Congress, called it a necessary incentive to encourage companies to hire veterans:

“The VFW supports the BRAVE Act, which would allow the VA to give preference to prospective contractors based on the percentage of veterans their companies employ. Such a policy would potentially incentivize companies to hire more veterans. The VFW believes that such incentives are still necessary, in light of the fact that the unemployment rate for current-era veterans continues to outpace that of the nation at-large.”

While proponents of this bill argue that the veteran unemployment rate is consistently higher than that of the general population, the most recent unemployment statistics don’t support this claim. According to Department of Labor statistics in October 2018, the veteran unemployment rate was 2.9 percent, compared to 3.5 percent for the non-veteran unemployment rate, and an overall national unemployment rate of 3.7 percent.

This bill has passed the House by a unanimous vote and has the support of six cosponsors, including four Democrats and two Republicans. When Rep. Rice introduced this legislation in a previous Congress, it had support from Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), American Legion, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).


Of Note: The VA establishes long-term contracts with private businesses for medical equipment, supplies, services, and more. Currently, the VA gives preference for these contracts to veteran-owned small businesses, but not to businesses that actively employ veterans.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / asiseeit)

AKA

BRAVE Act

Official Title

To amend title 38, United States Code, to authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, in awarding a contract for the procurement of goods or services, to give a preference to offerors that employ veterans.

    I like the idea but I think preference should be given to those who hire not only vets but disabled veterans and minority veterans.
    Like (45)
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    This may lend itself to violations. So then a contractor hires 80% veterans and no other contractor has the opportunity to hire as many, so then they lose on nearly all bid qualifications. Another issue, is a company who knows they have a higher percentage of vets will likely be chosen based on percentage of veterans and they increase their bids by $2 million, knowing they will get the contract. You still need to take the lowest responsible bid, regardless of these considerations. So, if you just add the veterans metric to the Request for Qualifications, it could be used “weighted” to help qualify a Contractor, but it should not be an ultimate deciding factor.
    Like (10)
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    Preferences in hiring veterans to provide contracted services in support of veterans. Hell yes. Seems like like a natural fit.
    Like (24)
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    Absolutely their contractors should hire veterans. Better yet the fewer contractors the better.
    Like (18)
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    Yes. Boost rates of American veterans employment!
    Like (17)
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    Not only the.VA but any project with Federal dollars attached to it.
    Like (14)
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    H.R. 2109 Boosting Rates of American Veteran Employment (BRAVE) Act I’m in strong support of and recommend the passage of the House Bill H.R. 2109 AKA “the Boosting Rates of American Veteran Employment (BRAVE) Act “ which would authorize the Dept.t of Veterans Affairs (VA) to give preference to contractors for the procurement of goods or services based on the percentage of the company’s full-time employees who are veterans. It’d also authorize the VA to debar any contractor determined to have willfully and intentionally misrepresented the veteran status of its employees for at least five years. Veterans have unique skills and experiences that equip them to excel in the civilian workforce — encouraging businesses to hire veterans by giving them preference for VA contracts will help veterans gain employment with these companies. SneakyPete..... 👍🏻👍🏻 HR.2109 👍🏻👍🏻. 6.23.19.....
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    Especially disabled vets.
    Like (11)
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    Veterans from our current wars are underemployed. This bill helps remedy that, while providing stiff penalties against those who try to cheat the system.
    Like (10)
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    DEFINITELY--THIS DEPARTMENT EXISTS TO HELP VETERANS! WHAT BETTER WAY TO DO SO?
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    Gee! From a Vet that’s a No Brainer! In Wisconsin there re already laws demanding this! After reading some of the opinions from those I follow as well as follow me I do agree that this could be another form of affirmative action as we are an All Volunteer Military with Enlistment Caps and only so many can enlist! Crappy International agreement that it is! Anyway as a former Non Commissioned Officer in the Army I did see lazy useless individuals that got away with doing very little! My whole time of 7 plus years on active duty I think I went on sick call give it six times! There were sick call rangers that were there twice a week and that’s called malingering. Which is punishable by UCMJ Action but at the time the Army didn’t do much about it! Yes I saw lazy crappy soldier that should have never been IN! And yes they will continue to be lazy good for nothing POS after they get out and I’ve worked with some! In construction and other job fields! Yes they do get weeded out! Any good Vet with a level head and the motivation to learn and work will make it places! Yes there must be laws protecting Honorably Discharged Veterans as They Served! I give them the benefit of a doubt however they still have to prove themselves! I look at it this way. I proved myself before God and Country and especially Family all so long ago and I’m never afraid to prove myself over and over! Most Vets are like me!
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    Yes. So much could be done for so many troubled veterans if their lives had more meaning and purpose. Too many employers do not realize what a prize a veteran has the potential to be.
    Like (7)
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    Support HR 2109. Veteran Support! Thank you to Rep Kathleen Rice for this bill. So much a Vet goes through to adjust to civilian life, appreciate their skills and discipline !
    Like (7)
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    Nope, competition is about saving taxpayer dollars. Contractor firms already hire qualified vets...no need to add political showmanship to this.
    Like (6)
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    Anything that supports Veterans employment.
    Like (5)
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    This seems obvious. Helmets to HardHats!!
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    The VA should hire the most qualified people for the job. But it should really be abolished in favor of vouchers.
    Like (5)
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    Veterans are so small a subset of the population. The comprise less than 1% of the population. This would be a negligible net preference for those who defend the other 99%, to say nothing about compensation to our NATO allies.
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    Our Vets need this
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    This is not new. Years ago veterans would have preference on federal jobs like the post office. Here there is an emphasis on good paying jobs. Amen! We should develop a plan so every one has a good paying job. Our country has to many people in minimum wage jobs. Federal minimum wage has not changed in the last decade. Our country is leaving the working poor behind.
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