WASHINGTON - Senator John Kerry today blasted President Bush for a new White House policy that contradicts the Administration's previously stated support for promoting diversity.

In a new Statement of Administration Policy (SAP), the White House has deemed unconstitutional provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2003 designed to encourage the participation of socially and economically disadvantaged businesses in Department of Energy (DOE) research and development programs. In its SAP, the Administration also objected to language in the Act that would assist Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges, and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), even though President Bush pledged in January to support HBCUs and Hispanic-Serving Institutions with increased funding.

In a letter to President Bush, Kerry blasted the Administration's opposition to language in the Energy Policy Act of 2003 that encourages the participation of socially and economically disadvantaged businesses in DOE research and development programs.

"These proposals are meant to encourage the participation of underrepresented groups in various economic sectors and are effective in helping disadvantaged communities participate and contribute to the nation's economic, educational, and social well being," wrote Kerry. "It appears that the Administration has determined to oppose these proposals as they are now written."

"It appears that with this Statement of Administration Policy, the Administration is taking the position that even limited efforts to enhance the participation of underrepresented communities in government programs violate the Constitution. If that is indeed the Administration's position, it seem to be calling into question similar efforts underway at almost all federal agencies, and I want to express my strong opposition to that view."

In addition, the letter expressed concern over the supposed "unconstitutionality" of reserving Research and Development money through the Department of Energy for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Hispanic-Serving Institutions to train students for scientific and technical careers.

"It is my view that these proposals represent sound federal policy to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to participate in economic and energy development. I urge you to withdraw your objections or to more fully articulate your opposition to helping underrepresented communities in this manner," Kerry said.