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Lawmaker presses agencies to abide by small biz law

Apr. 16, 2013 - 01:33PM   |  
By JIM MCELHATTON   |   Comments
U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo.
U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo. (Getty Images)

The chairman of the House Small Business Committee on Tuesday called on 35 federal agencies to provide details on their compliance with new federal provisions aimed to help small businesses compete for federal contracts.

The request by Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., comes less than a month after a congressional hearing found problems in the Veterans Affairs’ Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU).

Graves said the Small Business Act prohibits agencies’ OSDBU directors from holding other positions, but the VA’s OSDBU director, Tom Leney, acknowledged holding another agency job, too.

Graves said in a statement Tuesday that he’s now learned other agencies either are not aware of the provision or are not complying with it.

The provision was enacted through an amendment to the Small Business Act contained in the National Defense Authorization Act signed into law by President Obama in January.

In his letter, Graves gave agencies until May 13 to provide information on how they plan to comply with the Small Business Act, including provisions concerning the prioritization of OSDBU work, reporting requirements and prohibitions on OSDBU directors from holding other positions.

At a congressional hearing last month, Leney acknowledged that he was overseeing VA’s Center for Veterans Enterprise at the same time he served as VA’s OSDBU director.

“I personally don’t have any issue with a conflict of interest because we’re helping vets,” Leney said, adding that he’d provide lawmakers with more information after the hearing.

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