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CBC Comments on TARP & TALF Access Summit for Minority Vendors



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CBC Members Hold TARP & TALF Access Summit for Minority Vendors


Monday, March 30, 2009


Washington, DC – Concerned that minority and women- owned business enterprises could be excluded from participating in the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the Term Asset Backed Securities Lending Facility (TALF), and other federal programs designed to strengthen the nation’s financial markets, the Congressional Black Caucus convened a TARP / TALF Access Summit today in Washington, DC.


CBC Chairwoman Barbara Lee (CA) applauded Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA) and Congressman Greg Meeks (NY), co-chairs of the CBC Economic Security Taskforce who led the efforts to organize the Summit and presided over a lively and informative discussion. 


Today’s discussions are a critical step in addressing barriers faced by minority and women-owned business enterprises to participate in the TARP and TALF programs,” said CBC Chairwoman Barbara Lee. “The discussions provided a useful forum on the structure of the programs and access issues faced by minority and women-owned businesses.”


Congresswoman Waters said, “At this early stage of the Obama Administration, as the federal government is still developing and implementing its response to the financial crisis, we want to make sure that these programs are inclusive and draw on the talents, skills and expertise of everyone willing and able to help.”


The event brought together high-level government officials including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and representatives from the Treasury Department, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and a standing room only crowd of 300 women and minority financial services professionals including accountants, attorneys, consultants, financial advisors and asset managers, and real estate brokers.


CBC Members and many of the minority- and women-owned businesses acknowledged that the Obama Administration already is proving to be more responsive to and welcoming of input from minority communities.  However, they emphasized the need to continue advocating on behalf of minority- and women-owned businesses.


Congressman Meeks said, “We had a fruitful dialogue today, and this is just the beginning.  Members of the Congressional Black Caucus will remain actively engaged and follow up to hold the private sector recipients accountable and to ensure that government is responsive to and inclusive of all tax-paying Americans.”


Today’s discussions are a critical step in addressing barriers faced by minority and women-owned business enterprises to participate in the TARP and TALF programs. This morning’s discussions provided a useful forum on the structure of the programs and access issues faced by minority and women-owned businesses,” said Chairwoman Lee.


Congresswoman Waters cautioned against relying solely on a handful of major firms to fix the financial markets.  “It doesn’t make sense to trust just a few of the same old Wall Street firms with trillions of taxpayer dollars, especially since some of them are the same ones responsible for the crisis Americans are in now,” she said. 


She emphasized that our nation cannot afford to return to business as usual and must not exclude the talents of anyone.  “In recent weeks, we have heard much about prominent banks and other institutions being ‘too big to fail’.

Today America’s minority- and women-owned business enterprises are exclaiming, ‘We have experience and qualifications that can help America out of the economic crisis, and we are too numerous to ignore,’ and the CBC will make sure this does not fall on deaf ears.”


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