Foxx Issues Statement On H.R. 4920
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC) issued the following statement on H.R. 4920, The VA Contracting Preference Consistency Act, that was signed into law by President Trump.
“In North Carolina’s Fifth District, dozens of blind or visually impaired individuals have faced the prospect of losing their jobs due to conflicting federal laws. For those workers, that opportunity was provided through the AbilityOne program. AbilityOne was enacted by Congress to help those who have trouble finding work due to circumstances outside of their own control. This program gives nonprofit companies that employ the blind and significantly disabled individuals preferential treatment in competing for certain federal procurement contracts. One such nonprofit is IFB Solutions, which employed those workers here in the Fifth District.
“Unfortunately, previous court decisions have cost IFB Solutions the three federal contracts that supported those blind workers. This is because of an unnecessary conflict between AbilityOne and a similar program, the Veterans First program, which sets aside some Department of Veterans Affairs contracts for service-disabled veteran owned small businesses. The AbilityOne program has been exempted from such programs to not put programs for veterans and programs for the blind in conflict with each other. However, when Congress passed the Veterans Benefits Act of 2006 to create the Veterans First program, it neglected to exempt the AbilityOne program.
“With the passage of H.R. 4920, the VA Contracting Preference Consistency Act, nonprofits including IFB Solutions will have the opportunity to continue to work for the VA if they held contracts that predate the Veterans Benefits Act of 2006. As an original cosponsor of this bipartisan initiative, I’m pleased to see its passage in the House and its subsequent signage by the President.”
U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx represents North Carolina’s 5th Congressional District and is Republican Leader of the House Committee on Education and Labor.