Bipartisan Houlahan, Tenney Legislation to Promote Female Entrepreneurship Advances in House

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Wednesday, Representatives Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) and Claudia Tenney (R-NY) advanced their bipartisan legislation to promote female entrepreneurship out of the House Small Business Committee. Their bill, the Women-Owned Small Business Program Transparency Act, received unanimous support from committee members.

“Before coming to Congress, I helped build and scale several businesses in southeastern Pennsylvania, so I am all too familiar with the challenges female entrepreneurs face competing in our 21st-century economy,” said Houlahan. “The fact of the matter is women-owned small businesses have historically been underrepresented when it comes to federal contract funding, and COVID only made this disparity worse. My legislation will create a fairer playing field that elevates female entrepreneurs by acquiring up-to-date data on how our federal dollars are awarded. At a time when our politics are so divided, it is heartening to see my colleagues on the House Small Business Committee come together in such a bipartisan fashion to support this bill and our nation’s small businesses.”

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“As a longtime small business owner, I understand firsthand the challenges that all small business owners face on a daily basis, and particularly those unique to women,” said Tenney. “This legislation will strengthen the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) program by enhancing transparency and accountability, ensuring it works for taxpayers and our nation’s small businesses. I am honored that my colleagues on the House Small Business Committee passed this bill with such strong bipartisan support, and I hope for quick consideration by the House.”

This bill:

  • Establishes reporting requirements for the WOSB Program, furthering transparency, accountability and ensuring that Congress receives the necessary data to closely monitor the underrepresentation of women-owned small businesses in federal contracts.
  • Requires SBA to provide information as to the amount of contracting dollars awarded through the WOSB program, the number of certifications being issued, the amount of program examinations being conducted, the number of companies being decertified, and the number of contracts incorrectly awarded under industries or NAICS codes ineligible to the program, as well as any actions taken by SBA to properly train agency personnel.
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The legislation is supported by national organizations including the Women Construction Owners and Executives:

“Women Construction Owners and Executives (WCOE) applauds Rep. Houlahan for introducing the Women-Owned Small Business Program Transparency Act. Women-owned companies are still underutilized in the federal marketplace today and more needs to be done to see that programs enacted by Congress truly advance equity in the federal bid process for women and translate into actual bid awards for legitimate women-owned companies.”

Lee Cunningham, Chair of WCOE’s Legislative Committee, noted that Representative Houlahan’s bill could not come at a more important time for women in the construction industry because of the historic investment in infrastructure passed by this Congress. WOCE members can only capitalize on this opportunity if the persistent barriers women business owners face are addressed and that can happen only by increasing transparency and accountability in the Women-Owned Small Business program. WCOE commends her efforts on behalf of women business owners.

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Read a fact sheet on the bipartisan legislation here.

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