U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) today sent a letter to Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Administrator Cass Sunstein urging an accelerated review of the Small Business Administration's (SBA) regulation implementing a critical women's procurement program passed by Congress nearly a decade ago.
"I remain frustrated with the Administration's lack of urgency with regard to the women's contracting rule," said Senator Snowe. "The Federal government has consistently failed to meet its annual women's contracting goal of five percent of all prime federal procurement opportunities, and a truly functioning and effective procurement program will assist in satisfying, if not exceeding, this objective. Additionally, it is my understanding that OIRA has been reviewing this rule for over 90 days, since it was submitted by the SBA on October 20, 2009. Given that time is of the essence, and implementation of this rule could help our nation's small businesses drive our economic recovery and help create new jobs, I request that OIRA conclude its review no later than February 12, 2010."
Senator Snowe has consistently advocated the timely implementation of a women's procurement program regulation and remains committed to ensuring equal opportunities for women-owned small businesses.
Congress enacted the women's contracting program law (P.L. 106-554) on December 21, 2000, to provide Federal procurement officers with the proper tools to set-aside contracts to women-owned small businesses; yet, a decade later, the necessary regulations to help women entrepreneurs enter the Federal contracting arena remain unimplemented. Senator Snowe has repeatedly called on the SBA to issue regulations putting this critical program in place over the last decade. The agency responded on October 20, 2009, by promulgating the regulation and sending it to OIRA for interagency review.