Washington Report

Dispatches from Capitol Hill

Cummings Seeks Bonding Assistance for Minority Entrepreneurs

Elijah_Cummings,_CPD_photo_109th_Congress

Cummings

It takes money to make money, so the saying goes, and that’s especially true for federal contracting opportunities that require bonding.

“One of the major problems that minority contractors experiences is putting up a bond. In many instances they don’t have enough equity in their companies or may not have a past history to [satisfy] bonding companies,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) Thursday. He also believes sometimes discrimination is also a factor. “Without bonding, you can’t do the contract.”

Cummings, a member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, is seeking support for the Department of Transportation Bonding Assistance Authority Act, a bill he’s introduced to expand DOT’s authority to guarantee bonds issued to disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs). The measure would designate up to $50 million per year to fund the program, which Cummings says will significantly increase the amount of bonding aid available to DBEs. In addition, it would modernize the authorizing statute for DOT’s Minority Resource Center “to ensure that it serves as a clearinghouse providing information to DBEs on business opportunities related to all modes of transportation.”

Although Cummings has just 10 of the 30 co-sponsors he’s seeking, he is confident that the measure will pass on its own or as part of a six-year transportation bill.

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