Were politics or ideological differences behind the Small Business Administration’s removal of outreach web pages to the LGBT community after President Trump took office?

Reps. Nydia Velazquez and Yvette Clarke, New Yorkers who serve on the House Committee on Small Business, wrote this week in a letter to SBA Administrator Linda McMahon that web pages for business concerns of the gay and lesbian community were removed after President Trump’s January 2017 inauguration.

SBA officials assured the committee’s staff last August that the agency’s website was under construction “with plans to activate the (LGBT) webpage in the near future,” wrote Velazquez and Clarke.

 

Two U.S. House members from New York are pressing the Small Business Administration on the removal of LGBT resources from its website and expressing concern that the removal “may have been politically or ideologically motivated.”

Reps. Nydia M. Velázquez and Yvette D. Clarke, both Democrats, sent a letter Wednesday to SBA administrator Linda McMahon noting that the sections dedicated to LGBT content “have been missing since at least January 25, 2017,” five days after Donald Trump was inaugurated as president. SBA officials said it was typical to revise websites when there in a change in the presidential administration, but now much of the site has been updated and the LGBT page has not been restored.

Responding on behalf of the agency, Roma Daravi, the SBA’s acting press secretary, said: “SBA is an inclusive agency, proud to support all small businesses including the LGBT community.”

However, the takedown disappointed Helen Russell co-founder of Equator Coffees and Teas, an LGBT-certified company in San Rafael, Cal. that grew with the help of SBA loans. During the Obama administration, the SBA named Russell’s company the U.S. small business of the year for 2016.

“It is disheartening that the SBA has not taken action to restore the LGBT outreach page,” added Russell. “LGBT business owners contribute over $1.7 trillion to the U.S. economy. We are innovators, job creators, taxpayers, and providers of essential services that benefit our entire society. Erasing the page will not erase these contributions.”

The SBA billed the takedown as a temporary move by the new Trump administration, according to a January 2017 report by the Washington Blade, an online media organization focus on LGBT-related news.

The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, which was the SBA’s official partner on its LGBT outreach during President Barack Obama’s administration, also called for restoration of the website content. “The $1.7 trillion dollar economic impact of the nation’s estimated 1.4 million LGBT businesses on the GDP knows no political ideology,” said a statement issued by Justin Nelson, the chamber’s cofounder and president.

“The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce hopes to see the resources and information that benefit job creating, revenue-generating LGBT business owners return to the SBA website soon. Our economy only works if everyone is represented and included, and so we expect the SBA of the current administration to embrace what the private sector and many public sector leaders have known for decades: diversity and inclusion are good for business.”

The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, which was the SBA’s official partner on its LGBT outreach during President Barack Obama’s administration, also called for restoration of the website content. “The $1.7 trillion dollar economic impact of the nation’s estimated 1.4 million LGBT businesses on the GDP knows no political ideology,” said a statement issued by Justin Nelson, the chamber’s cofounder and president.

“The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce hopes to see the resources and information that benefit job creating, revenue-generating LGBT business owners return to the SBA website soon. Our economy only works if everyone is represented and included, and so we expect the SBA of the current administration to embrace what the private sector and many public sector leaders have known for decades: diversity and inclusion are good for business.”

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