Recently in the Budget Category

We are pleased to see Congress come together to open the federal government and avert a debt crisis. The actions of Congress in the past three weeks wreaked havoc on women-owned businesses with contracts in the private and public sector.

Our members testified before Congress that they incurred costs they will never recoup as a result of the shutdown. With the economy teetering its way toward recovery, actions such as the government shutdown adversely affect many small businesses in many industries - not just government contractors.

Small government contractors have been hit especially hard. Business owners have scrambled to secure additional lines of credit, asking their employees to share in the sacrifice of work without pay. An irony not lost on us is that these women-owned businesses were asked to carry the federal government's obligations because Congress would not.

Although we are grateful that the government reopened and a debt crisis averted, we are less enthusiastic about the length of the agreement. Women-owned businesses cannot make prudent business decisions based on three-month agreements. WIPP calls for Congress to bring long-term stability in federal funding. With the Budget Control Act spending limits in place, it should not be difficult to execute responsible government spending.

43% of standing Congressional Committees and 42.8% of select Joint Committee Hearings did not include women.  WIPP finds women excluded.  See report at wipp.org 


The Losers:

Senate Committees Featuring the Fewest Women:

Armed Services Committee:  83%
Budget Committee: 60%
Foreign Relations 59.26%

House Committees Featuring Fewest Women:

Armed Services:  59.29%
Homeland Security: 58%
Transportation and Infrastructure: 57.69%

The Winners:

Senate Committees Featuring the Most Women

Health, Education, Labor & Pension:  88%
Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry: 77.78%
Judiciary:  76.09%

House Committees Featuring the Most Women

Veteran Affairs:  86.36%
Education and Workforce:  83.35%
Appropriations:  66.6%

Friend:

A few weeks ago, President Obama asked the Small Business Administration and Department of Treasury to convene a forum to discuss how we can best get credit flowing to small businesses to help them make it through this recessions, and put them in a position to grow and create jobs.

We're hosting the forum next week, and I want to make sure that everyone with a stake in our recovery has their voice heard. 

Which is why I'll be taking your questions live in advance of the event this Monday, November 16th, at 3:15pm EST in a live video discussion through WhiteHouse.gov/live or through the White House's live-chat application on Facebook.

And whether you can make the chat or not, I'd like to invite you to submit a question ahead of time by emailing us in advance.  We'll post the full video of the chat afterwards.

I'll be able to share the concerns of small business owners I hear in the chat with the President and Secretary Geithner, at the Small Business Financing Forum and in our conversations and meetings afterwards. 

The President called for this forum because he knows that small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and that they're driving our recovery.

We want to open the doors and bring everyone who's involved in this historic effort to the table -- from Administration officials and Congressional leaders to lenders and small business owners like yourself - so we'll also be streaming the conference at live WhiteHouse.gov/blog, Wednesday, November 18th, starting at 9am EST.

Warm Regards,

Karen Mills,
Administrator
U.S. Small Business Administration

What Happened to the Stimulus Money?

1:28 PM June 17, 2009

What Happened to the Stimulus Money?

By Ann Sullivan, WIPP Government Relations

 

Recently, I have had the opportunity to present a comprehensive look at the stimulus money in different parts of the country. I have been surprised to find that the perception among small businesses is that the stimulus money--all $787 billion of it--has already been dispensed and in the hands of large contactors. There is a perception that there is nothing left for small businesses. 


Nothing could be further from the truth. The Vice President's quarterly report to the President issued in May contains a very compelling chart that shows that very little of the money has been dispensed. That is not even taking into account the money at the state and local level that has yet to be spent. The agencies have just recently completed their spending plans. With respect to state and local government, the same is true.
Since the contracting rules remain the same as the ones currently in place, agencies must follow the standard contracting procedures. Preparing those solicitations, takes time. With respect to small business participation, the Office of Management and Budget Chief Peter Orszag issued a directive to all agencies that small businesses should be used to the maximum extent practicable. The Congress and the Administration have made it pretty clear that they expect large contractors to use small businesses in their plans to spend the stimulus money.  Small businesses ought to leverage that pressure to their advantage.

 
It's pretty clear that with respect to stimulus money, it is not business as usual. The website www.recovery.gov is much more than a transparency tool - it is a way for small businesses to follow the money. Agencies issue weekly reports, opportunities are posted on FedBizOpps and states are listing their projects as well on the website.


If you are not a federal or state contractor, now is the time to explore a new segment of business. Form alliances with small and large contractors who already contract with the government. Become a subcontractor and learn the ropes. If you are a federal contractor, look for ways to expand existing contracting vehicles you have in place.  Designate a staff member to follow www.recovery.gov and www.Grants.gov daily. 

 
The money trail is pretty easy to follow. Don't walk away from a huge sector of business because someone told you that there is not money left. If you are a WIPP member, take advantage of the training opportunities WIPP offers in the Give Me Five program. Go for it - you have 12 to 18 months to make it happen.

Budget

1:39 PM April 17, 2009

It is budget time in Washington: what is normally a one-year excersice in Congressional spending/restraint, is more like a 10 year exercise this year. President Obama decided to take his long term objectives such as healthcare reform, energy independence and other major initiatives to the Congress in the form of a proposed budget.

Congress is deciding how to respond to this approach since it has focused on a one-year budget and mostly failed getting the appropriations necessary to carry out the budget even for one year let alone ten. Obama has asked Congress to carry out a "marker" of $634 for comprehensive healthcare reform.

Additionally, there is a bill - the Budget Reconciliation, that moves through the Congress and only needs a majority to pass. Senate leaders have used the threat of using the Budget Reconiliation bill as a vehicle for passing major initiatives.  This is a bad idea because while getting major legislation passed can be arduous, the flip side is legislation that is not formulated by a wide coalition and has adverse consequences - can wreak havoc in the business community. 

Healthcare reform and cap and trade are prime examples of legislation that need to be thoroughly debated and formulated by a bipartisan group of members.

 

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