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VA sets rule for Vets set-asides.

The Veterans Affairs Department proposes to expand its set-asides for veteran-owned businesses, giving those firms first priority for printing services and for products sold by Federal Prison Industries.

VA began its Vets First set-aside program last year under authority of an act of Congress. The program gives service-disabled veteran-owned firms first priority on VA contracts, followed by companies owned by other veterans.

Under a proposed rule, VA would give vets' firms top priority for printing services, which normally must be purchased through the Government Printing Office, and for items provided by Federal Prison Industries. VA acknowledges that its proposal "conflicts with the current contracting priorities in law," but says it interprets the Veterans Benefits, Health Care and Information Technology Act of 2006 "to mean that SDVOSBs and VOSBs must receive priority in VA contracting opportunities without regard to other provisions of law concerning contracting preferences."

Under the VA program, SDV and other vet-owned firms may receive sole source awards up to $5 million. The department's contracting officers must set aside contracts for those firms if at least two responsible offerors are available to fulfill the contract at a reasonable price.

The department says it awarded 7% of its contract dollars to SDVs in 2007 and 10% to veteran-owned companies. It is one of the few agencies to exceed the 3% goal for SDV contracting.

The proposed rule is at http:// Comments are due Oct. 20.
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Publication:Set-Aside Alert
Date:Aug 29, 2008
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