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American forces press service (May 6, 2004): new small business rules to benefit Service-disabled vets.

WASHINGTON -- A new procurement program boosts federal contract opportunities for Service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, Small Business Administration officials here announced May 4.

The interim rule was published May 5 and is effective immediately. The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council concurrently released regulations implementing the program, officials said.

"President Bush has made it a priority to reach out to all of America's entrepreneurs, and we have a special responsibility to make an effort for those who sacrificed for our safety and freedom," said Hector V. Barreto, SBA administrator in announcing the program May 4. "We have made a strong effort to do precisely that."

Federal contract dollars to Service-disabled veterans increased from $298 million in fiscal 2002 to $510 million in fiscal 2003, Barreto said. "But we want to do more," he added. "The regulations being issued today will ensure that those great Americans who served our country proudly continue to have fair and open access to contracting opportunities."

Officials explained the new rule adds provisions to the Code of Federal Regulations that will allow contracting officers to restrict contract awards to small businesses owned by Service-disabled veterans when there is a reasonable expectation that two or more such small businesses will submit bids at a fair market price.

Small businesses owned by Service-disabled veterans can be awarded sole-source contracts when there is not a reasonable expectation that two or more such firms will submit bids and the anticipated contract price does not exceed $3 million, or $5 million for manufacturing contracts, officials said.

The interim rule allows small businesses to self-certify as Service-disabled veteran-owned businesses, officials said, and any challenge to a firm's status or standing must be referred to the SBA for resolution. The SBA will rely upon existing Department of Veteran's Affairs or Department of Defense determinations regarding status and will help enforce penalties for false representation, officials added
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Title Annotation:In the News
Publication:Defense AT & L
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2004
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