Bush Commission Recommends Reducing Contracting Opportunities

Press Release

Bush Commission Recommends Reducing Contracting Opportunities

January 25, 2006

Petaluma, CA, January 25, 2006/PRNewswire/ -- A report by the Civil Rights Commission has recommended eliminating "race-conscious programs." The majority opinion argues that Federal agencies have not implemented practices to ensure that racially based preferences serve a compelling government interest.

The report includes a lengthy dissent by one of the only two democratic members, Michael Yaki, a San Francisco attorney and former city supervisor. Mr. Yaki asserts that the commission majority misconstrues the Supreme Court's decision and "takes a radical step backwards from the race-progressive policies this nation has undertaken" while ignoring pertinent data received from Federal agencies.

The Federal goal for minority contracting is 5%, however, participation in the SBA's 8(a) program has actually declined over the past several years. According to a SBA Office of Advocacy report, the 8(a) program reached a high of 3.7% in 1995 and see-sawed down to 2.8% in 2004, even though the number of minority-owned businesses has steadily grown.

"Although they are small, these programs work," stated Drue Brown, Owner of AgCel, an 8(a) certified business and Chairman of the Sacramento Valley 8 (a) Association. "Our country needs race-conscious programs to make a marginal correction to a national history of discrimination. Without them, there is no way to even the playing field for people of color."

"I think that minority business owners should be up in arms over this," stated Lloyd Chapman, President of the American Small Business League. "The government has never hit the 5% minority business contracting goal and now they're recommending eliminating the minimal opportunities that minorities have in doing business with the Federal government. It's unconscionable."

According to Civil Rights Commissioner Michael Yaki, "It's going to take leaders in the business community such as the American Small Business League to show that the majority views are out of step with mainstream America. I commend the ASBL for their work and I would encourage people to support them."

Members of the Civil Rights Commission are four Bush-appointed republicans, two democrats, and one independent, Abigail Thernstrom, the Vice Chair. Evidence exists that former republican Mrs. Thernstrom changed her party after the president nominated a fifth republican to the Commission. The law prohibits the installation of any more than four members of one party. Five members of the Commission constitute a quorum.

About the ASBL
The American Small Business League was formed to promote and advocate policies that provide the greatest opportunity for small businesses - the 98% of U.S. companies with less than 100 employees. The ASBL is founded on the principle that small businesses, the backbone of a vital American economy, should receive the fair treatment promised by the Small Business Act of 1951. Representing small businesses in all fields and industries throughout the United States, the ASBL monitors existing policies and proposed policy changes by the Small Business Administration and other federal agencies that affect its members.


For more information contact:
Lloyd Chapman



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