WOSB Sole Source Legislation Introduced in Senate
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Kristie Arslan
LEGISLATION INTRODUCED TO ASSIT WOMEN SEEKING ACCESS TO FEDERAL CONTRACTS
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 18, 2014) – Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) applauds the introduction of legislation by Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) to improve the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract Program, helping women entrepreneurs access the federal market. Sen. Shaheen introduced the women’s Small business Procurement Parity Act of 2014 (S. 2481), a bill that would expand access for women business owners seeking contracts with the federal government through the WOSB procurement program. Cosponsiring the legislation is Sen. Maria Cantwekki (D-WA), current chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
The WOSB procurement program, officially launched in 2011, is a critical gateway into the world of government contracting for women entrepreneurs nationwide. Since its inception, the WOSB procurement program has been hampered by restrictions on the size and type of contracts awarded. All other major small business contracting programs have sole-source authority, however the WOSB procurement program does not. The bill fixes this inequity.
Senator Shaheen’s legislation would go further to expand access for women entrepreneurs by expediting a disparity study by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which identifies under-represented industries for participation in the WOSB procurement program. The study was originally required by 2018—more than eleven years after the last study—but would be accelerated to 2015.
“Senator Shaheen’s leadership on this issue will help the nearly 8 million women business owners nationwide, many of whom do not have access to federal contracts,” commented Barbara Kasoff, president of Women Impacting Public Policy. She continued, “Since the inception of the WOSB program, only one one-hundredth of a percent of all contract dollars have gone through this program. Improving that number should be a priority and this legislation will help do that.”
The bill’s introduction comes only days after the head of the Small Business Administration highlighted these changes as priorities for the agency tasked with small business policy. “I’ve instructed my staff to conduct a formal study required for the SBA to re-visit the contracting landscape to ensure women have optimal access to the federal supply chain. Another important tool for federal agencies is sole-source authority. I’m encouraging Congress to give federal agencies this tool to level the playing field for women-owned businesses,” remarked Administrator Contreras-Sweet.
This bill is similar to changes that were passed in the House of Representatives as part of the FY15 National Defense Authorization Act, led by Rep. Jackie Speier.
WIPP is a national nonpartisan public policy organization advocating on behalf of its coalition of 4.7 million businesswomen including 75 business organizations. WIPP identifies important trends and opportunities and provides a collaborative model for the public and private sectors to increase the economic power of women-owned businesses. For more information, please visit www.wipp.org.
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