House Votes 423-0 to Pass Bipartisan Delgado Bill to Extend Federal Contracting Preference to Veteran Families

November 13, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC — This afternoon, Representative Antonio Delgado’s (NY-19) bipartisan legislation to support veteran families passed the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously. Rep. Delgado’s bill, H.R. 499: The Service-Disabled Veterans Small Business Continuation Act, would provide the surviving spouse of a service-disabled veteran with federal contracting preference as a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA), no matter the degree of disability the servicemember experienced. Below is a video and transcript of Rep. Delgado’s remarks on the House floor urging bipartisan support for his legislation.

Click here to watch Rep. Delgado’s full remarks.

“Spouses, families and loved ones of our servicemembers carry enormous burdens,” said Delgado. “I introduced the bipartisan Service-Disabled Veterans Small Business Continuation Act to ensure that all spouses of service-disabled veterans retain federal contracting preference as a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, no matter the severity of that veteran’s injury, and to support more veteran-owned small businesses. I am proud to see this bill pass with unanimous support and urge the Senate to take up this legislation as soon as possible.”

Rep. Delgado delivered the following remarks on the House floor:

“I rise today in support of the first bill I introduced as a Member of Congress, the bipartisan Service-Disabled Veterans Small Business Continuation Act. This legislation, which I introduced with members of both sides of the aisle, Ranking Member Steve Chabot, Congressman Jack Bergman, and Rep. Lou Correa, responds to the critical need to ensure that spouses of service-disabled veterans can start or continue operating a small business after the veteran’s passing. 

“The spouses, families, and loved ones of our servicemembers carry enormous burdens. Not only do they make sacrifices to support their loved ones in the military, they’re integral to their transition back to civilian life. The Service-Disabled Veterans Small Business Continuation Act seeks to address one of the many burdens carried by the spouses of our military veterans. 

“Rightfully so, both the Small Business Administration and the VA give contracting preference to small businesses owned by service-disabled veterans. However, currently, when the veteran dies, only a small handful of spouses can retain that contracting preference. 

“That’s because this contracting preference is only given to the spouses of veterans with 100% disability. Spouses of service-disabled veterans should be able to retain this preference, regardless of the veteran’s disability rating. 

“This bill makes an important correction—ensuring that all spouses of service-disabled veterans retain federal contracting preference as a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, no matter the severity of that veteran’s injury. This will give surviving spouses the opportunity to remain competitive in the federal contracting market and help ensure that businesses are not upended after the death of their veteran spouse.

“I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their cooperation on this issue and commitment to the families and spouses of our veterans. Caring for our nation’s heroes should never be a partisan issue. I urge the House to support this legislation and yield back the balance of my time.”

The Service-Disabled Veterans Small Business Continuation Act was introduced in January with bipartisan support along with Committee on Small Business Ranking Member Steve Chabot (R-OH), Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI), and Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA), and passed the House Committee on Small Business following Rep. Delgado’s testimony in July. Current law allows surviving spouses of 100% service-disabled veteran business owners to continue receiving preferences for contracts with the VA, but the benefit does not extend to the spouses of veterans with a disability less than 100%. The bipartisan bill passed by the House today will extend the benefit to these spouses for three years, helping ensure their businesses are not upended after the death of their veteran spouse.