Fitzpatrick bill would give veterans fair shot to win construction contracts

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) on Friday just before Veterans Day introduced legislation that would make it easier for veteran-owned firms to work on federally funded transportation and infrastructure projects.

The Fairness to Veterans for Infrastructure Investment Act would amend the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act to require that veteran-owned small businesses receive at least the same consideration for contract awards that companies in other ownership-preference categories currently enjoy as part of various “set-aside” programs. Currently there is no equal-preference consideration for veteran-owned businesses bidding on transportation and infrastructure 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,” said Fitzpatrick, who serves on the Congressional Veteran Jobs Caucus.

“In total, veteran-owned businesses make up nearly 10 percent of all businesses in the United States and account for more than $1 trillion in business receipts every year,” added Fitzpatrick. “Let’s put these heroes to work rebuilding our roads and bridges; this bill does just that.”

The American Legion endorsed the bill, H.R. 4319.

“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,” said American Legion National Commander Denise H. Rohan. “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.”

U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) joined Fitzpatrick in introducing the bill. “Our men and women in uniform know the meaning of hard work,” said Sinema, adding that H.R. 4319 “ensures we have the best workers rebuilding our country’s infrastructure.”

There are more than 380,000 veteran-owned construction businesses across the United States, according to Rohan. “It’s not just construction firms that will benefit,” said Rohan. “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.”

In addition, Fitzpatrick on Nov. 2 introduced H.Res. 588, supporting National Veterans Small Business Week, Oct. 30 to Nov. 3.