Waters Amendment to H.R. 3996 on Minority Inclusion
"Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I am joined on this amendment by all of the Congressional Black Caucus Members who sit on this Committee. We have all joined together on this amendment because the inclusion of minorities and women within the Federal government’s financial services agencies is critical to the success of minorities, women, and minority communities.
In addition, women and minorities are underrepresented in government positions related to the financial services sector. According to the Office of Personnel Management, minorities comprise only 17.4 percent of Federal economists; 18.1 percent of Federal financial management positions; and 18.7 percent of financial institutions examiners. Women comprise 32.5 percent of Federal economists; 39.1 percent of Federal financial management positions; and 34 percent of financial institution examiners.
On the contracting side, despite some efforts from our financial services agencies to increase the participation of minority- and women-owned businesses, qualified minority- and women-owned businesses continue to be excluded from contracting opportunities made available by the government’s historic intervention at banks and other financial institutions. Of the 67 contracts Treasury has entered into as part of its administration of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), 9 were awarded to small, women- or minority-owned businesses. Of the 12 firms pre-qualified by the Treasury to act as fund managers for the Legacy Securities Public-Private Investment Program, only one was a minority-owned business.
Although some minority-owned firms have entered into partnerships with majority firms, those partnerships have not been meaningful and the minority firms have not benefited to the same extent as the majority firms. In addition, because our agencies like to do business with firms that they already have relationships with, minority- and women-owned businesses have had difficulties getting their foot in the door. For example, when it came to time to choose who would manage its $1.2 trillion mortgage-backed securities purchase program, the Federal Reserve used a closed RFP process and only sent the RFP to firms they knew. These types of deals that exclude the participation of minority- and women-owned businesses must stop.
This is why we are offering our amendment. Specifically, our amendment would
• Require to the maximum extent possible the inclusion of women, minorities, and minority- and women-owned businesses at all levels of business activities, including in procurement, insurance, and all types of contracts.
• Requires for contracts greater than $50,000 and the contractor employs more than 50 employees, a written assurance that the contractor shall ensure, to the maximum extent possible, the inclusion of women and minorities in its workforce, and, as applicable, by its contractors.
The inclusion of minorities and women in our financial services programs is long overdue. I urge my colleague to support this amendment.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back the balance of my time."