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Law reaffirms parity in federal contracting

On Sept. 27, President Obama signed the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010, which amended wording for the Historically Underutilized Business Zone ("HUBZone") Empowerment Contracting Program. The legislation says "a contracting opportunity shall be awarded" to a HUBZone firm if a reasonable expectation exists that two or more qualified firms will submit offers (known as the rule of two). With the new law, "shall" now becomes "may," which parallels the wording for service-disabled veteran-owned programs and brings all these major socioeconomic programs into parity. Also, on Oct. 7, another development regarding veteran procurement at VA was settled in court, validating a claim that VA improperly awarded a contract to a nonveteran company before it considered veterans first, per the Veterans Benefits, Health Care and Information Technology Act of 2006. Veteran status is the only small-business status recognized by the federal government in which membership must be earned to participate. It has two requirements: you must have worn the uniform, and you have to be an entrepreneur.

The American Legion continues to fight to protect the earned rights of veteran business owners, and will be working closely with the new Congress to ensure the government-contracting playing field is level.

Louis J. Celli Jr. is CEO of the Veterans Business Resource Center. Readers can send questions for "On Point" to