Lawmakers have introduced two new bills in the House and the Senate, each aimed at giving separate groups preference in federal contracting. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) has proposed the RETAIN Act, which would modify the U.S. Code for both civilian and defense contracts, “adding a preference for contractors that promise to retain jobs in the United States.”
According to a press release about the bill, to be eligible for the preference, bidding companies and their subcontractors would have to submit a certification that they would not relocate jobs to another country during the period of performance of the contract. A company would also have to certify that it will use products “substantially manufactured” in the U.S., and that services would be provided in the US. under the contract.
Companies that receive federal contracts paid for with taxpayer funds should keep their operations in the United States. That is common sense. Rewarding companies that ship jobs overseas with lucrative contracts sets a bad precedent that will only work to further erode our American manufacturing base, and the families it sustains.”
Senators Tammy Baldwin (R-WI) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) have introduced bipartisan legislation titled “the Boosting Rates of American Veterans Employment (BRAVE) Act.” The bill would extend the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) practice of granting contracting preferences to veteran-owned businesses to businesses that employed large number of veterans, as well. “
The bill would allow the VA to consider the proportion of veterans employed by a prospective contractor when awarding federal contracts. The VA Secretary would have the authority to give preference to businesses that employ veterans on a full-time basis, and the VA would determine the preference for a business based on their percentage of full-time veteran employees.
The two bills now officially constitute a trend in terms of an eagerness of lawmakers to add contracting preferences. Earlier this month, Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) introduced H.R.971, the Surviving Spouse Contracting Preference Act, which would amend the U.S. Code “to treat small businesses, owned by surviving spouses of members of the Armed Forces killed in the line of duty, as small business concerns owned and controlled by veterans for purposes of contracting goals and preferences of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.” The company would be considered as such until the surviving spouse remarries, or relinquishes ownership.