Politics

Duckworth Votes Against Bill to Support Veteran-Owned Businesses

Tammy Duckworth
Tammy Duckworth / AP

Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D., Ill.) voted against a bill aimed at helping veteran-owned businesses obtain infrastructure contracts, less than two weeks after she commemorated Veterans Small Business Week.

The House passed the Fairness to Veterans Infrastructure Act on Nov. 17, a bill that would give veteran-owned businesses preference when applying for state infrastructure contracts that are funded by the federal government.

Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran who was wounded in 2004 and is running for Senate in Illinois, was one of 136 Democrats to vote against the bill. Forty-six Democrats voted in favor of the act, which had bipartisan sponsorship.

Critics of the bill said it would hurt women-owned and minority-owned businesses.

Duckworth has highlighted her military service and work with veterans during her Senate campaign. On Nov. 6, she wrote a Facebook post promoting Veterans Small Business Week.

"It is Veterans Small Business Week," she wrote. "This week highlights the entrepreneurial drive and skills our Service members have to run successful businesses."

The American Legion praised the House’s approval of the bill on Thursday and called on the Senate to pass it as well.

"The Fairness to Veterans for Infrastructure Investment Act is a bipartisan, common sense way to update legislation that redresses the exclusion of veteran small businesses at no cost to the taxpayer," said James Oxford, chairman of the Legion’s Veterans Employment and Education Commission. "The American Legion encourages the Senate and the White House to level the playing field for these veterans by turning Rep. Fitzpatrick’s legislation into law."