By Rob Kaiser

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and a dozen other senators have asked the Small Business Administration to stop awarding grants to new women's business centers until Aug. 1, giving Congress time to fix the funding of such centers.

Without changes, the funding for 50 centers could be jeopardized.

The "outmoded funding formula" is set at 2003 levels and doesn't consider the number of growing centers, according to a news release from the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

"Under the current formula, 53 sustainability centers in 39 states will be competing for a pool of funds that only provides for 32 full sustainability grants," stated a letter the senators sent to the SBA.

The Senate has already passed legislation that would update the funding formula, and a similar bill has been introduced in the House.