Senate confirms Isabel Guzman to lead Small Business Administration
The Senate voted 81-17 on Tuesday to confirm Isabel Guzman, currently the director of California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate, to lead the Small Business Administration.
Why it matters: The SBA will play a central role in helping small businesses recover from the economic crisis inflicted by the coronavirus, which has caused thousands of them to permanently close their doors.
- The SBA has approved hundreds of thousands of Paycheck Protection Program loans worth billions within the last year to businesses suffering during the pandemic. The agency has also lent more disaster loans during the crisis than at any other point in its history, per the New York Times.
- Guzman's appointment is widely seen as a win for Latino lawmakers and activists lobbying for more representation in Biden's administration.
- Guzman served as deputy chief of staff and senior adviser to the SBA under former President Obama and has since overseen California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate.
What they're saying: At Guzman's confirmation hearing, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) cited bipartisan concern at the SBA for failing to make data available to Congress and the watchdog General Accountability Office as they drafted Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.
- "We need that demographic information on how the program is working so we can adjust it to reach the targeted communities that have been traditionally underserved," Cardin said.