WASHINGTON, D.C. – – U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) praised the Obama Administration for issuing an Executive Order establishing the Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development.  This task force, authored by Senator Snowe, was contained in the Military Reservist and Veteran Small Business Reauthorization and Opportunity Act (P.L. 110-186) signed into law by former President George W. Bush on February 14, 2008.

“Though long overdue, I thank the Administration for responding to the calls from veterans advocates far and wide to form this critical task force, which will help ensure our nation’s bravest men and women have the tools to succeed as entrepreneurs,” said Senator Snowe.  “It is imperative that the Administration utilize this task force in a robust manner to truly improve the conditions that promote veteran entrepreneurship, particularly regarding access to capital and Federal contracting opportunities, and I will be providing stringent oversight of this panel.”

Senator Snowe originally proposed the Interagency Task Force at a January 31, 2007, Committee hearing, before including it legislatively as a provision in S. 904, the Veterans Small Business Opportunity Act of 2007, which was one of the bills that formed the foundation for P.L. 110-186.  According to the deadline established in P.L. 110-186, the Task Force should have been implemented prior to May 14, 2008 – over 23 months ago.

The White House also announced yesterday a new memorandum creating an Interagency Task Force on Federal Contracting Opportunities for Small Businesses.  The government-wide task force will be responsible for developing policies and tools to increase small business participation in government contracting opportunities – including by woman, veteran, and minority-owned firms –  as well as building a website that provides clear information on, and improves transparency in, the Federal government’s achievement of contracting goals. 

“I am pleased that the Administration has further recognized the critical nature that small businesses play in Federal contracting,” continued Senator Snowe.  “This memorandum will help focus government efforts on how best to involve various socio-economic small business categories in the procurement process.  It is my hope that this Task Force will identify barriers to achieving government-wide contracting goals and provide innovative ways to overcome them.”

To read the Executive Order establishing the Veterans Task Force, please click here.  To read the Memorandum on Federal Contracting, please click here.