This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) that would have required the Defense Department to conduct an outreach program for women and minority-owned businesses prior to awarding defense contracts. This amendment was offered to legislation authorizing annual funding for Defense Department programs.
Jackson Lee urged support for her amendment: “It [the amendment] is simple. It is engaging, embracing. It is recognizing that all of us have our good neighbors back in our district. It is also an affirmation of the importance of the work of the United States military, and the many, many small businesses who desire to be of service. And so this amendment is simply informational, but it has a basis in success; outreach, to make sure that our small businesses around the nation have a sense of what available opportunities are there for them. It calls for renewed vigor in advocating and constructing effective policies that will make the United States the most talented, diverse, effective, and powerful workforce in the increasingly globalized economy.”
Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) opposed the amendment, arguing that it would result in a delay in the awarding of federal contracts: “…This is nothing more than a delay tactic to stop outsourcing. We need to use outsourcing where it makes sense, to utilize the benefits of reducing cost, which has the potential to help our small businesses, which I think we all support. Whether they are women-owned or minority-owned businesses, small businesses are important, and I think outsourcing does that.”
The House rejected this amendment by a vote of 191-232. Voting “yea” were 185 Democrats and 6 Republicans. 229 Republicans and 3 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have required the Defense Department to conduct an outreach program for women and minority-owned businesses prior to awarding defense contracts.