Under a proposal by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., certain products would be exempt from a Dept. of Defense procurement program that encourages purchases from suppliers in countries in Central Asia and Africa close to U.S. military operations there. That program has meant a loss of supply business for Lighthouse for the Blind, which operates workshops in New Orleans and Baton Rouge and in Gulfport, Mississippi, according to the nonprofit.
A measure by U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., would broaden a program that promotes awards of federal government contracts to businesses in economically depressed communities, expanding it for officially declared disaster areas and businesses affected by military base closures.
The Scalise amendment was added to the House version of the Defense bill, which passed the full House Friday. The Vitter proposal was attached by a Senate committee to the Senate version, which is set for action by the full Senate. The House and Senate must agree on one version to send the bill to the president for signature.