The Small Business Administration has “suspended” applications from federal contractors for the 8(a) business development program, which is aimed at assisting small businesses whose owners are socially and economically disadvantaged. .
The SBA said in a memo on its portal, certify.sba.gov, shared with FedScoop that a federal court in Tennessee last month blocked the use of the site due to presumed racial and ethnic disadvantage. It said it had stopped accepting new applications following the injunction. Contract Program Eligibility.
The agency wrote: “SBA has temporarily suspended the filing of new 8(a) applications while it revise the application questionnaire in accordance with the court’s decision. Thank you for your interest in the 8(a) Business Development Program. Masu.”
A ruling last month by a federal judge in Tennessee bars the USDA and SBA from considering these factors, which are the basis of the 8(a) program, when making contractual decisions.
Last month's ruling relied in part on a recent Supreme Court decision that prohibited the use of race in college admissions through affirmative action.
Contracting experts previously told FedScoop that the deal could have far-reaching implications for programs across the government, but noted that the full extent is unclear and an appeal is likely.
Federal contract attorney Nicole Potroff commented on the suspension of the 8(a) program in a blog post, writing: “The SBA appears to be taking a 'wait until we hear otherwise' approach to new his 8(a) program applications… [w]We all anxiously await further information about the potential impact this decision could have on both applicants and current 8(a) program participants. ”
The SBA did not respond to requests for comment at the time of publication.