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Economic Stimulus Package and Communities of Color

Page history last edited by Faye Anderson 13 years, 9 months ago

An Excerpt From:

What does the Economic Stimulus Package Have in it Specifically for Communities of Color?


By Vernellia R. Randall, Professor of Law, University of Dayton


With the passage and signing of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the question is how will the law affect communities of color?  This is not intended to be an analysis of the potential impact of the Economic Stimulus Plan that depends, of course, on how it is implemented.  But the fairness of the implementation will depend in part on how much funds are specifically directed at communities-of-color and most importantly, whether there are any strong non-discrimination clauses in the bill.  As far as I can tell there are not. 


However, the initial guidance memorandum requires that "The Executive Branch shall distribute Recovery Act funds in accordance with: All applicable anti-discrimination and equal opportunity statutes and regulations. These  include (but are not limited to) Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; the Fair Housing Act; the Fair Credit Reporting Act; the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act; and the Americans with Disabilities Act; as well as the Uniform Relocation Act."  (Page 9, Initial Guidance Memorandum)


Title VI regulations forbid disparate impact discrimination.  While an individual cannot sue, the civil rights agency can.


Finally although the Initial Guidance Memorandum is 60+ pages of detailed instruction on monitoring and oversight, there is no requirement to collect and report racial data on what communities and populations are receiving the impact of the stimulus package.


Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Program

For an amount for ''Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Program,'' $650,000,000, for additional coupons and related activities under the program implemented under section 3005 of the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005: Provided, That of the amounts provided under this heading, $90,000,000 may be for education and outreach, including grants to organizations for programs to educate vulnerable populations, including senior citizens, minority communities, people with disabilities, low-income individuals, and people living in rural areas, about the transition and to provide one-on-one assistance to vulnerable populations, including help with converter box installation: Provided further, That the amounts provided in the previous proviso may be transferred to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) if deemed necessary and appropriate by the Secretary of Commerce in consultation with the FCC, and only if the Committees on Appropriations of the House and the Senate are notified not less than 5 days in advance of transfer of such funds.  (Page 14)


SEC. 6001. Broadband Technology Opportunities Program

Concurrent with the issuance of the Request for Proposal for grant applications pursuant to this section, the Assistant Secretary shall, in coordination with the Commission, publish the non-discrimination and network interconnection obligations that shall be contractual conditions of grants awarded under this section, including, at a minimum, adherence to the principles contained in the Commission's broadband policy statement (FCC 05-15, adopted August 5, 2005). (Page 401)


Related Terms: Disadvantaged

$20,000,000 shall be for disadvantaged business enterprises bonding assistance under section 332(e) of Title 49, United States Code. (Page 93)


Note: Section 8(a) 

By definition, a social disadvantaged individual is one who has been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as a member of a designated group without regard to their individual qualities.  Members of the following ethnic groups are classified as disadvantaged: Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian pacific Americans, subcontinent Asian Americans, and members of other groups designated on a case by case basis by the SBA.


Economically disadvantaged individuals are socially disadvantaged and their ability to compete in the free enterprise system has been impaired due to diminished capital and credit opportunities, as compared to others in the same or similar line of business who are not socially disadvantaged.

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