Wicker Promotes Competition in VA Acquisition Process

Miss. Senator Introduces VETS Business Act

September 13, 2023

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today introduced the Vetting for Equal Treatment of Small (VETS) Business Act, which would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to submit a report to Congress about competition among suppliers of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The legislation would encourage the VA to ensure small businesses can compete fairly for federal contracts.

“Promoting competition and access to federal opportunities for small businesses is critical, especially at the Department of Veterans Affairs,” Wicker said. “Strong supply chains depend on a diverse group of suppliers to keep costs low. The VETS Business Act is focused on promoting competition, supporting small businesses, and ensuring cost savings for the American taxpayer."

This legislation is in response to issues regarding the VA’s acquisition process. In May, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) admitted that the VA is struggling to manage that process effectively, placing a burden on U.S. taxpayers. Small business VA suppliers have also expressed concerns about their capability to compete for VA medical supply contracts.

The VETS Business Act would require a report modeled after the 2022 report of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment entitled “State of Competition within the Defense Industrial Base.” The report would determine problems and provide recommendations for reform.

The full text of the legislation can be found here.