Accountability Hearing Planned for SBA

The Senate's small business committee is taking the Small Business Administration to task once again on accountability issues.

In a letter it sent to the agency today, announcing a January hearing, panel Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) and top Republican Olympia Snowe of Maine, outlined pressing issues for the media and the agency in a Dec. 5 letter (pdf) to SBA head Steven Preston.

The senators plan to question the administrator on agency implementation of programs designed to give women a boost in the business world, SBA lender oversight and fraud prevention, energy assistance for entrepreneurs and health insurance, among other things.

"Seven years of delays and empty promises are not helping small businesses provide health care, deal with skyrocketing energy costs, access federal contracts, or get the training they need to boost their businesses," said Kerry.

The senators said they plan to follow up on promises made by the SBA to implement the Women's Procurement Program, by October 2007, which became law seven years ago. They also plan to question the administrator about agency promises to fund by Jan. 18 the longest-serving Women's Business Centers.

The procurement program mandates that women have equal access to federal contracts. "Despite repeated bipartisan calls for action, the Bush Administration has failed to implement this program over the last seven years, costing women-owned businesses an estimated $6 billion in lost potential revenue," according to the letter.

The committee said it expects to hold a hearing on the matter in mid to late January.

By Sharon McLoone |  December 5, 2007; 1:00 PM ET Regulation Legislation
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House Bill 3867 directs the SBA to implement the Women's Procurement Program within 90 days. However, it will take Congress at least 180 days to issue a 90 day directive.

This latest letter to the SBA is to cover up the fact that Congress and especially the Senate have accomplished nothing this year including the passage of HR 3867.

Posted by: ANON | December 10, 2007 11:23 AM

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