Ahead of Veterans Day, Fitzpatrick & Sinema Fight for Veterans Jobs

‘Fairness to Veterans’ ensures veteran-owned businesses lead in infrastructure investment

November 10, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) has introduced legislation ahead of Veterans Day to ensure veterans play a critical role in rebuilding America’s infrastructure. The Fairness to Veterans for Infrastructure Investment Act [H.R. 4319] levels the playing field in federal contracting for veteran-owned businesses by providing veterans access to existing preferences authorized for transportation projects.

“Our veterans are one of the most highly skilled workforces in America’s history – the product of rigorous training, an ironclad commitment to teamwork and the remarkable ability to succeed where others might fail. In total, veteran-owned businesses make up nearly 10% of all businesses in the United States and account for more than $1 trillion in business receipts every year. Let’s put these heroes to work rebuilding our roads and bridges; this bill does just that,” said Fitzpatrick, a member of the Congressional Veteran Jobs Caucus

"Our men and women in uniform know the meaning of hard work. That's why Arizona veterans make the best employees, managers, and small business owners. This bill is a commonsense solution that creates more jobs for Arizona veterans and ensures we have the best workers rebuilding our country's infrastructure," said Sinema.

Federal agencies, including the Department of Transportation, have special ‘set-asides’ for contracts going to small businesses owned and controlled by particular groups of people who have been designated for contracting preferences. Fairness to Veterans simply states that if any business is going to get a preference, then veteran-owned small businesses should at least get that same partiality. There is no equal preference for veterans when it comes to building our nation’s roads, highways, and critical infrastructure, which is not fair to these heroes.

Nearly 2.5 million veterans own and operate small businesses in the U.S. — including over 380,000 construction firms — and sustain over five million American jobs. Of the 250,000 service members currently transitioning from military to civilian life, surveys show one in four are considering starting or buying a business.

The Fairness to Veterans for Infrastructure Investment Act is endorsed by the American Legion as a key piece to increase access to jobs for veterans.

“Congressman Fitzpatrick’s Fairness to Veterans legislation is a simple, yet powerful, update to current law to ensure Veteran-Owned Small Businesses play a key role in rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure. This straightforward, bipartisan measure is critical to both the shared goals of creating and sustaining jobs for our veterans and fortifying our roads and bridges – The American Legion is proud to support it,” said American Legion National Commander Denise H. Rohan. “By connecting veteran-owned businesses to the contracting power of the federal government, we can open the door for increased production, the hiring of additional staff – often times veterans themselves, and national opportunities for the more than 380,000 veteran-owned construction firms across the nation. Moreover, it’s not just construction firms that will benefit - there are a variety of industries involved, such as personnel, admin, engineering, landscaping, utilities and IT this policy impacts, touching all veteran-owned small businesses.”

Fitzpatrick is the author of H. Res. 588 which supports National Veterans Small Business Week (October 30 to November 3).