VA’s implementation of Kingdomware

On Oct. 10, The House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a roundtable to discuss the VA’s implementation of the June 16, 2016, Supreme Court decision on Kingdomware Technologies Inc. v. United States. The justices’ decision requires the VA to award contracts to veteran-owned small businesses when two or more veteran-owned small businesses submit bids, and the award can be made at a fair and reasonable price that offers best value for the United States. Subcommittee members and small business owners identified issues with the VA’s process for awarding contracts. VFW National Legislative Service Director Carlos Fuentes urged the VA to train its contract officers so they no longer view veteran-owned small businesses as a burden. If you own a small business that contracts with the federal government, please let the VFW know how the process could be improved to ensure veteran-owned businesses have an opportunity to compete.

Veterans legislation roundup
Last week, the House advanced several pieces of legislation to improve veterans’ benefits and services. On Thursday, the House Committee on Veterans Affairs passed HR 1066, the VA Management Alignment Act of 2017, which would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to submit an evaluation to the Committees on Veterans Affairs of the Senate and the House on how individual program offices interact and hold each other accountable; HR 3122,  the Veterans Care Financial Protection Act of 2017, which would require the VA to develop and implement standards that protect individuals who are eligible for this increased pension from dishonest, predatory or otherwise unlawful practices; HR 3561, which would expedite the VA home loan appraisal process by authorizing VA-approved appraisers to use information from third-party entities when determining a home’s value; HR 3562, which task specially adapted housing agents with providing adaptive housing assistance to veterans who use the independent living services as part of the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program; HR 3656, which would establish a consistent applicability date for provision of memorial headstones and markers for eligible nonveteran individuals; and HR 3657, which would expand authority to provide headstones and markers to eligible spouses and dependents in tribal veterans cemeteries.

POW/MIA update
Army Air Forces 1st Lt. George W. Betchley, 20, of Yonkers, New York, whose identification was previously announced, was buried Oct. 14 in Clearwater, Florida.
Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Richard M. Horwitz, 22, of Brookline, Massachusetts, whose identification was previously announced, was buried Oct. 15 in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.
Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class Don O. Neher, 28, of Kansas City, Missouri, whose identification was previously announced, was buried on Oct. 16 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C.
Navy Seaman 2nd Class Harold L. Head was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island, Pearl.
Until next week, praying for all service members.

– Charles Castellucio