Velázquez and Mfume Urge President Biden to Prioritize Small Business Under Defense Production Act
Washington, February 5, 2021
Washington, D.C.— Today, House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) and Vice-Chair Kweisi Mfume (D-MD) sent a letter to President Joe Biden, asking his administration to prioritize small businesses in his efforts to leverage the Defense Production Act (DPA) to fight medical supply shortages.
“Ensuring small businesses are part of any efforts to leverage DPA against COVID-19 will serve to fully replenish our stockpiles while strengthening our industrial base and supply chain,” wrote the lawmakers. “Moreover, it will ensure diversity in the industrial base and supply chain for medical supplies, allowing it to remain nimble. Finally, it will path the way to address some of the small business inequities that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.”
On January 21st, President Biden announced his “National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic,” which calls for utilization of the DPA to fill shortfalls of crucial medical supplies needed in the fight against COVID. Under the DPA, the President can give small businesses preference as contractors and subcontractors at various tiers. In the letter, the lawmakers encourage the Biden administration to include minority-owned and underserved businesses that the pandemic has devastated.
“Minority small businesses have been disproportionately affected,” wrote the lawmakers. “A National Bureau of Economic Research study found that, during the first two months of the pandemic, 41% of African American Owned Businesses and 32% of Hispanic-owned small businesses were forced to close their doors, compared to 22% of small businesses overall.”
Full text of the letter can be read here.