INTRODUCTION OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ADVERTISING EQUITY ACCOUNTABILITY ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 76
(Extensions of Remarks - May 08, 2019)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E559]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




       INTRODUCTION OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ADVERTISING EQUITY 
                           ACCOUNTABILITY ACT

                                 ______
                                 

                       HON. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON

                      of the district of columbia

                    in the house of representatives

                         Wednesday, May 8, 2019

  Ms. NORTON. Madam Speaker, today, I introduce a bill, the Federal 
Government Advertising Equity Accountability Act, to require all 
federal agencies to include in their annual budget requests to Congress 
the amount they spend on advertising contracts with small disadvantaged 
businesses (SDBs) and businesses owned by minorities and women. Federal 
agencies would be required to provide prior and projected total 
expenditures for such contracts. Representatives Barbara Lee and Gwen 
Moore are cosponsors of this bill.
  In 2007, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) examined spending 
on advertising contracts with minority-owned businesses by five 
agencies--the Department of Defense, the Department of the Treasury, 
the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of the 
Interior and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration--and 
found that only five percent of the $4.3 billion available for 
advertising contracts went to minority businesses. In light of these 
concerning figures, several Members of Congress and I sent a letter to 
the GAO in April 2016 requesting updated information on the amount of 
federal advertising dollars spent with SDBs and businesses owned by 
minorities and women. That GAO report, released in July 2018, showed 
that in fiscal year 2017, only 16 percent of the federal government's 
advertising contract obligations went to SDBs and businesses owned by 
minorities and women.
  The federal government is the largest advertiser in the United 
States, and it has an obligation to ensure equitable access to its 
contracts for SDBs and businesses owned by minorities and women. The 
GAO's findings make it clear that there is still much progress to be 
made.
  The regular collection of information on federal advertising 
contracts with SDBs and businesses owned by women and minorities, along 
with the provision of this information to legislators and stakeholders, 
is essential to bridging the divide between what current statistics 
show and a more inclusive advertising landscape. This bill would 
achieve these goals while also promoting transparency and encouraging 
federal agencies to strive to reach minorities, who often receive their 
daily news from smaller media outlets that serve communities of color. 
The requirement that agencies submit prior and projected information 
regarding the amount of advertising dollars spent with SDBs and 
businesses owned by minorities and women would allow federal agencies 
to evaluate their progress over time. The regular collection of this 
information would also demonstrate that the promotion of equity in 
advertising, and in all areas of government, should be a continuous 
effort that is important to the mission of every agency.
  I urge my colleagues to support this bill.

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