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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.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
21 mins ago - Health

America’s biggest hospitals vs. their patients

Expand chart
Data: JHU; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

More than a quarter of the 100 U.S. hospitals with the highest revenue sued patients over unpaid medical bills between 2018 and mid-2020, according to new research by Johns Hopkins University provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: The report suggests that, rather than being an anomaly, patient lawsuits are relatively common across the country and among the largest providers.

22 mins ago - Technology
Column / Tech Agenda

The next big social network: Nextdoor

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nextdoor, the neighborhood social network, has seen explosive growth over the past two years as homebound users became more fixated on what was happening on a hyper-local level.

Why it matters: Such rapid growth comes with challenges. What was once a niche social network is now so popular that it's grappling with some of the same thorny problems plaguing Facebook and Twitter, such as content moderation.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

American men plead guilty to helping former Nissan chair escape Japan

Carlos Ghosn, former Nissan chair, during a news conference in Jounieh, Lebanon, last September. Photo: Hasan Shaaban/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Americans Michael Taylor and Peter Taylor pleaded guilty in a Tokyo court Monday to helping former Nissan chair Carlos Ghosn escape Japan in a box aboard a plane in 2019, per the Wall Street Journal.

The big picture: Ghosn was awaiting trial in Tokyo on financial misconduct charges following his 2018 arrest when he fled to Lebanon. He denies any wrongdoing.