WASHINGTON – Today Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, demanded that the Bush Administration provide a timeline for implementing a 2000 law which requires that women-owned small businesses receive five percent of federal government contracts. For seven years, the Bush Administration has failed to create the Women’s Procurement Program, which mandates that women have equal access to federal contracts. In 2006, only 3.4 percent of federal contracts were awarded to female-owned businesses, far short of the federal requirement, costing women-owned businesses an estimated $6 billion in potential revenue.

“When it comes to leveling the contracting playing field for women entrepreneurs, Congress threw the first pitch in 2000 but the Bush Administration still refuses to step up to the plate,” said Senator Kerry. “After seven years of delays, I am tired of listening to excuses. Senator Snowe and I want to see a timeline for implementing this program now so that women small business owners aren’t denied another $6 billion in contracts.”

“The end of Fiscal Year 2007 has come and gone, and the Women’s Contracting Set-Aside program has not been implemented as promised,” said Senator Snowe. “Our nation’s women-owned small businesses have waited long enough, and I call on the SBA to set this program in motion as expeditiously as possible.”

The Administration testified at a July 2007 hearing that the Women’s Procurement Program would be implemented by September 30, 2007. When it became apparent that the deadline would not be met, Senators Kerry and Snowe pressed the administration in a hearing in September to provide a time frame for implementation. After seven years of delays, the Administration again refused to commit to implementing the program within a certain period of time.

To read the letter that Chairman Kerry and Ranking Member Snowe sent to SBA Administrator Steven Preston click here.