Tri-Caucus seeks complete contracting data

The Chairs of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), and Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-12) led a letter Friday with over 40 House Democrats to the Small Business Administration urging Administrator Isabel Guzman to publish a complete version of federal contracting spending data broken down by race and ethnicity.

The Biden-Harris Administration published this kind of data for the first time in December 2021, but the data released in January 2024 for FY2021 and FY2022 has thus far been limited to the top five agencies. The lawmakers underscored the economic impact federal contracting dollars can have on minority-owned small businesses and communities or color. 

“We urge the SBA to completely deliver on its 2021 commitment to publish data, disaggregated by race and ethnicity, on government contracts issued to Small Disadvantaged Businesses for every federal agency, not just the top five,” wrote CAPAC Chair Rep. Judy Chu (CA-28), CBC Chair Rep. Steven Horsford (NV-04), CHC Chair Rep. Nanette Barragán (CA-44), and Rep. Lee. “We ask that you publish this data for Fiscal Years 2021, 2022 and 2023 before April 30, 2024.”

They continued, “In fiscal year 2020, the federal government spent more than $665 billion on contracts. But minority-owned businesses often struggle to win federal contracts, depriving those companies and communities of billions of dollars in opportunities. According to one study, had minority-owned businesses received FY20 federal contracting dollars in proportion to their share of the US business sector, they would have received $64 billion more in federal contracts. Black-owned businesses specifically would have received an additional $4 billion in contract awards and Hispanic-owned businesses almost $24 billion more.”

“In 2021, President Biden committed to addressing this inequity through increasing federal contracting with Small Disadvantaged Businesses to 15% in FY25. Under your leadership, SBA has affirmed that the SBA Scorecard will reflect those milestones. As members of Congress, we write to remind your administration of this commitment and reiterate that publishing this data for all federal agencies will help legislators to understand the needs of America’s 33.2 million small businesses while fostering greater economic opportunity for marginalized groups.”

Disaggregated data on race and ethnicity would show how these federal contracting awards for small businesses are being divided across racial and ethnic categories — Black and African American, Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, Hispanic and Latino, Native American, and other minority-owned small businesses – to monitor equity and progress at a time when transparency is key to understanding the disparities faced by minority-owned small businesses.

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