Mar 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Senate confirms Isabel Guzman to lead Small Business Administration

In this image, Isabel Guzman speaks in front of a microphone

Guzman at her confirmation hearing on Feb. 3. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

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 big picture: Bipartisan groups of lawmakers in the House and Senate are pushing to extend the PPP beyond March 31, the current deadline for businesses to get loans until the program ends.

  • 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.
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