Reps. Aguilar, Gomez Introduce Legislation to Help Minority and Women-Owned Businesses Secure Infrastructure Funding
If passed, the bills would help federal agencies accomplish President Biden’s ambitious goal of increasing the share of federal contracts going to small, disadvantaged businesses by 50 percent by 2025
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Representatives Pete Aguilar (CA-33) and Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) introduced a package of bills to help minority- and women-owned businesses compete for contracts to develop and build federal infrastructure projects. As billions of dollars in funding is distributed through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, these bills would help federal agencies accomplish President Biden’s ambitious goal of increasing the share of federal contracts going to small, disadvantaged businesses by 50 percent by 2025. This would represent billions more dollars for small businesses and help close the racial wealth gap.
“Small businesses are not just the heart and soul of our communities, but they’re the driving forces behind our continued economic success,” said Rep. Aguilar. “That’s why it’s critical we make sure that minority and women-owned businesses have the tools and resources they need to thrive. We’ve made historic investments in underserved communities through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, but the Federal Highway Administration’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Supportive Services program has long been in need of increased funding. Our legislation will more than double their funding and create similar programs at the Federal Aviation Administration and Federal Transit Administration. I’m proud to join Congressman Gomez and Senator Padilla as we work to continue to grow our economy and support minority and women-owned businesses.”
“Small businesses are the foundation of a strong economy, and ensuring they can grow and succeed is essential. In 2021, Congress made historic investments to support small businesses through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the legislation we’re introducing today will ensure that historically disadvantaged small businesses owned by women and people of color are equipped to compete for federal, state, and local government contracts,” said Rep. Gomez.
The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Supportive Services Expansion Act, led by Rep. Aguilar, would increase the annual funding cap for the Federal Highway Administration’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Supportive Services Program from $10 million to $25 million. This program provides training, assistance, and services to minority- and women-owned businesses to help them develop into self-sufficient organizations that viably compete for federally assisted highway project contracts. However, Congress has not raised the annual funding cap for this program since 1973.The legislation would also establish Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Supportive Services Programs at the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Transit Administration.
The Accelerating Small Business Growth Act, led by Rep. Gomez, would create a grant program to help transportation agencies carry out innovative programs to help disadvantaged small businesses grow and achieve proficiency to compete, on an equal basis, for contracts and subcontracts in federally funded transportation projects. Agencies that receive funding through this program would be required to submit reports to the Department of Transportation evaluating the effectiveness of their activities, which would help inform future federal procurement policymaking. This bill would authorize $15 million over the next three years for this program.
Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) is preparing to introduce both bills in the Senate.
Full text of the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Supportive Services Expansion Act can be found here.
Full text of the Accelerating Small Business Growth Act can be found here.