House Adopts Fitzpatrick Measure to Assist Veterans
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The United States House of Representatives today adopted a measure sponsored by Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick that would ensure a level playing field for veteran-owned small businesses bidding on federal contracts.
“Veterans have served our nation honorably across the world,” said Fitzpatrick. “After they return home, their experience and expertise can help lead our nation’s economic recovery. The talents of our service men and women are invaluable to our nation both on and off the battlefield. We must be ever mindful of the sacrifices they have made and give them all the tools necessary to compete and thrive in civilian life.”
According to the United States Census Bureau, over 2.4 million of our nation’s veterans are now small business owners. Veteran owned businesses now constitute 9% of all U.S. firms and the Small Business Administration now estimates that one in seven veterans are either self-employed or small business owners. Despite the growing number of veteran entrepreneurs, unemployment rates among young veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan remains stubbornly high, reaching 21.9% last year.
Fitzpatrick’s amendment, which was adopted with bi-partisan support on a voice vote, was added to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Act. The amendment would require veterans be afforded the same contracting preferences extended to other groups for projects funded under this legislation. On April 7, 2011, Fitzpatrick introduced the Fairness to Veterans Act which would extend the veterans preference to all federally funded contracts.