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Issa, Duckworth introduce SERV Act

Press Release
Nov 13, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Oversight Committee member Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced the Support Earned Recognition for Veterans (SERV) Act, H.R. 3469, a bipartisan bill to eliminate abuses in the veterans benefit system and ensure that only individuals who have actually served in the military can qualify to receive government contracting preferences and similar benefits.

“Each year, the federal government offers hundreds of millions of dollars of small-businesses contracts to service-disabled veterans so that they can grow their small businesses while providing the government with needed services and goods,” said Rep. Issa.  “Those who never actually served our country are not – and should not – be entitled to receive this special status.  This loophole must be closed to reduce these egregious abuses and prevent taxpayer dollars from being inappropriately awarded to non-veterans.”

“My neighbors sent me to Washington to reach across the aisle and get results,” said Rep. Duckworth. “This is a common-sense solution to a small problem, but a good start so that we can spend taxpayer dollars more effectively and honor our veterans properly.”

As the law stands, individuals who attend a military preparatory school but never joined the Armed Forces may claim veteran status.  The SERV Act would clarify the definition of “veteran” to exclude such individuals and prevent them from exploiting the system to secure “service-disabled veteran-owned small business” contracting preferences.

The SERV Act follows a recent Oversight and Government Reform hearing that examined a flaw in the current veterans benefit system that allowed an IT contractor to secure a “service-disabled veteran” designation and, as a result, receive $500 million in government contracts, despite never having served a day in the military.

The SERV Act has 57 original cosponsors.

To read the full text of H.R. 3469, please click here.

To read a joint article by Reps. Issa and Duckworth, please click here.

 

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