U.S. Rep. Marilyn Strickland has called on Shalanda Young, the director of the United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to make changes to how the federal government acknowledges small businesses owned by military spouses.
According to a letter written to Young, the change would ensure military spouse entrepreneurs are appropriately represented and accounted for.
The federal government doesn’t currently track military spouse participation levels in government-wide contracting opportunities, stated a news release, meaning there is no way for Congress to know how many military spouses bid for and win federal contracts.
“The federal government must do everything in its power to support entrepreneurial military spouses,” Rep. Strickland said in a statement. “I urge Director Young to recognize military spouse-owned businesses to ensure military spouses are getting the support they need to provide for their families.”
The change of policy would allow U.S. military spouse-owned businesses to self-identify in the Federal Procurement Data System. That system is overseen by the Office of Federal Procurement Policy at the OMB.
Federal agencies and Congress can use the federal procurement data system to inform policy decisions and provide reports on trends, stated the release. This would allow for better federal insight, from data collection on military spouse-owned businesses, into the support the businesses need. It would also potentially encourage more spouse-owned businesses to bid for federal contracts.
According to Blue Star Farm, military spouses face an unemployment rate of 20%. Many also experience employment discrimination that forced them out of traditional employment opportunities, the release stated.
The letter was signed by Representatives Strickland, Democrat Andea Carson of Indiana, Democrat Veronica Escobar of Texas, Democrat Derek Kilmer of Washington, Democrat Kim Schrier M.D. of Washington, Democrat Jill Tokuda of Hawaii, Democrat Rick Larsen of Washington, Democrat Mike Levin of California, Democrat Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, Democrat Sara Jacobs of California, Democrat Dean Phillips of Minnesota, Democrat Suzan K. DelBene of Washington, Democrat Chris Pappas of New Hampshire, Democrat Steven Horsford of Nevada and Republican James C. Moylan of Guam.
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