Women business owners are voicing opposition towards proposed regulations on a federal program that aims to set aside five percent of federal contract dollars for women owned-businesses. In December 2000, legislation went into effect that aimed to set aside contracts for women in certain industries.
According to the American City Business Journals Wire Service, the new regulations would limit the program so that it only applies in cases of “actual discrimination.” The Administration is expected to issue final regulations in October.
However, the five percent of contracts mandated by the December 2000 legislation has yet to be met. According to a Small Business Administration press release (see PDF), only 3.2 and 3.4 percent of federal contract money went to women in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
Congress may bar the Small Business Administration from directing money towards the procurement program and leave the direction of the program in the hands of the next administration. Due to potential cut-backs federal limitations would create, the Journals Wire Service notes women’s business groups would prefer working with the next administration.
At a September 9 meeting of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, Sen. John Kerry called the proposed rule “an affront to the hard-working women business owners who need nothing more than a chance to show their worth,” according to the Journals Wire Service.