WASHINGTON – Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today criticized the Small Business Administration’s interpretation of federal contracting dollar goals for Small and Disadvantaged Businesses (SDBs) in a letter to SBA Administrator Hector Barreto.

Kerry also recommended the reinstatement of the SDB set-aside program, which was placed under a moratorium in 1995. Despite the fact that the moratorium’s sunset date expired more than five years ago, the Bush Administration has refused to reinstate the program.

In his letter, Kerry cited a letter he received from Barreto stating that, “the increase in SDB contracting dollars from $12.5 billion in FY 1995 to $15.6 billion in FY 2001 is evidence that SDB set-asides are not necessary.”

Disagreeing with Barreto’s assessment, Kerry wrote, “Increasing the allocation of contracts to SDBs by one-half of one percent over a 6-year period, while a step in the right direction, is not enough.”

“Providing assistance to small businesses, which account for 75 percent of all new jobs, can help this nation recover from the current economic downturn and begin to restore the over 3 million jobs lost since President Bush took office,” said Kerry. “Time and again, this President has said he supports small businesses, yet his administration refuses to lift an outdated restriction on a program that has proven to be a significant benefit for small businesses. The Bush Administration needs to live up to its rhetoric.”