Law halts regulations for woman-owned businesses

The fiscal 2009 spending law has blocked implementation of the Bush administration’s regulations regarding procurement set-asides for woman-owned small businesses.

The law, signed March 10, prohibits the Small Business Administration from using any appropriations money to implement a rule issued in October 2008 regarding federal contract assistance for woman-owned small businesses.

The Bush administration’s final rules and procedures give agencies ways to identify the industries in which women business owners are underrepresented or substantially underrepresented in federal procurement. The rule didn’t finalize the naming of the industries, but SBA had proposed expanding the set-aside program from four obscure industries, which include kitchen-cabinet making, to 31. The information technology industry was not included.

Women’s groups were pleased with the spending law’s provision, and many woman-owned technology firms were hoping for inclusion among the underrepresented industries.

The law’s provision states: “None of the funds made available under this act may be used by the Small Business Administration to implement the rule relating to women-owned small business federal contract assistance procedures published in the Federal Register on Oct. 1, 2008.”

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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