Boston Business Journal, By: Kent Hoover

Federal agencies could set aside contracts for women-owned businesses in up to 31 industries under a new rule issued by the Small Business Administration.

"Interpreting just 31 out of more than 100 industries as underrepresented is insulting and hardly an improvement from the SBA's earlier ruling," said Kerry, who chairs the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee.

He contends the agency "has subjected this program to a level of review that is not required by any constitutional standard."

Kerry made three attempts recently to pass legislation that would deny the SBA funding for implementing the rule, but none of these amendments passed.

Congress' intent eight years ago "was to level the playing field for women entrepreneurs," Kerry said. "This ruling includes more roadblocks and does nothing to make it easier for women to compete."

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