Lawmakers Boost SBA Budget, Nix Women's Procurement Rule

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed a bill late Thursday providing $107 million in additional funding for the Small Business Administration and some of its core programs.

The bill increases funding for Small Business Development Centers, Women Business Centers, microloans, contracting assistance and veterans' outreach programs.

The funding increases the budget by about 45 percent over President Bush's budget request for the agency.

The bill also halts action on a controversial rule proposed by the SBA that would govern women's procurement programs. The committee, which appropriates funding for federal agencies, included a prohibition on funding the proposed rule's implementation.

"The action taken by the Appropriations Committee sends the strongest message possible that there is no congressional support for the proposed rule," said Women Impacting Public Policy President Barbara Kasoff.

The recommended rule would limit the number of governmental contracts awarded to women entrepreneurs by requiring women-owned businesses to show under-representation in thousands of industries and direct discrimination by a government agency in order to qualify for protected status.

Read more about the response to the controversial rule here.

By Sharon McLoone |  July 11, 2008; 4:21 PM ET Legal Affairs
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