Federal Regulation Intended to Aid Women-Owned Small Businesses
The federal government's goal of awarding five percent of federal contract dollars to women-owned small businesses gives a major advantage to start-up companies owned by women who want to sell in the federal marketplace. Under a rule promulgated last October, the government went beyond merely stating an unenforceable goal and is now permitted to limit competition in federal procurements to women-owned small businesses whose owners are economically disadvantaged. 73 Fed. Reg. 56940 (Oct. 1, 2008). But there's a catch. Unlike similar rules that apply to other socially and economically disadvantaged businesses, this restriction applies only when the government buys goods or services in certain narrowly defined industries where the Small Business Administration determines that women-owned businesses are "underrepresented." Moreover, the recent decision in Rothe Development Corp. v. Dep't of Defense, 545 F.3d 1023 (Fed. Cir. Tex. Nov. 4, 2008) (No. 2008-1017), which overturned a similar five-percent goal on constitutional grounds, may cast doubt on the new rule's validity. Senator Olympia Snowe introduced S. 2608 in February 2008 to clarify the underrepresentation presumption, but the bill has thus far not moved out of the Senate Committee on Small Business, and the Rothe decision may make it even more difficult to address.
Change of Administration Creates Job Opportunities
The Obama transition team is in the process of filling approximately 11,000 jobs in the new administration. This creates opportunities for persons with diverse backgrounds and experiences who have developed expertise to work for the public good on many issues. The process begins online at http://change.gov where an applicant clicks on the "Jobs" tab to fill in a brief contact form. Within two to three days, the applicant will be notified by e-mail of a link to complete an extended application that includes uploading a resumé and selecting specific areas and positions of interest. Positions will continue to be filled for months following the new administration's inauguration on January 20.
In addition, job openings exist on Capitol Hill. Visit the Senate Employment Office online at www.senate.gov/visiting/common/generic/placement_office.htm. The House of Representatives Employment Opportunities Web site is www.house.gov/cao-hr/.
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