Female Lawmakers Object to Proposed Women's Procurement Rule

The top Republican on the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee rallied her fellow female senators to sign a letter addressed to the head of the Small Business Administration requesting either an improvement to a proposed women's procurement rule or for its complete withdrawal.
Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine with Mary Landrieu (D-La.) yesterday sent the letter, which was signed by all female senators.

The SBA recently submitted to the Office of Management and Budget its final version of a women's procurement rule for interagency review and clearance. The agency's plan has many critics, who say the proposed rule would be ineffective in helping the federal government reach its 5 percent women's contracting goal.

"I find it inexcusable that after wasting well over seven years before issuing any proposal whatsoever, the SBA is now apparently seeking to finalize a defective rule with few, if any, improvements," said Snowe, "The SBA should either propose drastic enhancements that reflect the intent of Congress or simply allow the next administration to address this critical issue. Women entrepreneurs, who contribute so many jobs to our nation's economy, deserve a contracting rule that will actually help them receive government business, not a sham proposal that would provide virtually no benefit."

The senators wrote in yesterday's letter that the SBA's proposed rule is flawed because it identifies only four out of 140 industries in which women-owned businesses are under-represented and eligible for set-aside contracts. Additionally, it's problematic, they said, because it would require individual federal agencies "to publicly admit to a history of gender discrimination, which is extremely unlikely."

By Sharon McLoone |  September 24, 2008; 9:48 AM ET Gov't Contracting , Policymakers
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