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                            THE WHITE HOUSE
                     Office of the Press Secretary
                           (Dakar, Senegal)
For Immediate Release                                      April 1, 1998

Dear Mr. Speaker:

On March 28, 1998, I sent a letter to the Leadership addressing my concerns regarding H.R. 2400, the Building Efficient Surface Transportation and Equity Act of 1998. As the House prepares to consider this bill, I want you to know that I am adamantly opposed to any attempts to weaken or repeal the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program extension contained in this legislation.

We have seen time and again that women and minorities are excluded from the contracting process when a DBE program is not in place. The DBE program is not a quota. The existing statute explicitly provides that the Secretary of Transportation may waive the 10 percent goal for any reason and that this benchmark is not to be imposed on any state or locality. Rather, the DBE program encourages participation without imposing rigid requirements of any type.

I ask that you oppose efforts to strike the DBE program from the bill.



The Honorable Newt Gingrich
Speaker of the
House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

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