FAR-Reaching Bailout - Black Enterprise

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Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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More and more people are starting to understand why approving the $700 billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Act is necessary to keep credit markets flowing.

But the American Small Business League (ASBL) has gone so far as to accuse the Wall Street rescue bill of having “anti-small business” language.

The bill does NOT say, “Don’t give government contracts to minorities.” What Section 107 of the House and Senate bills does is give Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson the authority to “waive provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation where compelling circumstances make compliance contrary to the public interest.”

Lloyd Chapman, president and founder of the ASBL is worried because FAR safeguards minority procurement of government contracts. “Minorities are losing 90% of all the small business contracts to large businesses,” says Chapman. Boeing, Halliburton, and Lockheed are just some of the companies receiving this small business money. Businesses? Yes. Small? Definitely not.

The bailout legislation says that the waiver can only be used under certain conditions. First, it must be reported to Congress within seven days. Also, the bailout bill says that if provisions related to minority contracting are waived, the secretary must develop alternate procedures to ensure the inclusion of minority contractors.

Chapman wants to know why there is not a time limit on this waiver and why the bill doesn’t spell out the specific “procedures to ensure the inclusion of minority contractors.”

The SBA’s office of the inspector general, which is responsible to detect and deter fraud in the agencies programs, declined to comment and directed all inquiries about audits to the Website.

“One of the most important challenges facing the Small Business Administration and the entire federal government today is that large businesses are receiving small business procurement awards, and agencies are receiving credit for these awards,” according to a 2005 memo from Harold Damelin, the inspector general of the SBA.

With the inclusion of Section 107 it seems as if the Bush administration is basically saying “We want to repeal the law, but trust us. We’re going to make every effort to include small businesses.” The problem is this: When the administration was being held accountable by the Small Business Act they did not make every effort to include small businesses. So, it is understandable why the ASBL wants lawmakers to question the necessity of Section 107 in the bailout bill.

Chapman says the SBA is appealing a federal ruling that orders it to release the names of firms that have received small business contracts. He says the ASBL has spent a quarter of a million dollars in federal court to find out the names of the large businesses who received contracts designated for small businesses. “What do you think that means?” he asks.

It means House and Senate members should still vote yes on the bailout. Small businesses won’t need contracts if they can’t get credit

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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