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Deputy SBA Administrator Nominee Continues to Be Held Up in Committee

  • Senate Republicans hold up committee discussion on key U.S. Small Business Administration for a fourth time
  • Republicans have raised some concerns with nominee Dilawar Syed, while also seeking to pressure the SBA to release more information on loans to Planned Parenthood affiliates
  • Democrats charge that Republicans are needlessly holding up a qualified candidate and impeding assistance to small businesses

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

Senate Republicans have refused to consider the nomination of a key official at the U.S. Small Business Administration for the fourth time, frustrating Democratic leaders who say their actions are harming efforts to support small businesses.

The 10 members of the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship boycotted the committee’s meeting on Thursday, denying the quorum necessary to vote whether to advance Dilawar Syed’s nomination for deputy SBA administrator to the full Senate for consideration. Some Republicans raised objections to Syed himself, while others said the boycott aims to pressure the SBA to release documents on Paycheck Protection Program funding to Planned Parenthood affiliates.

Republican senators have said they will also skip the committee’s next meeting on Nov. 17 unless the SBA provides this information.

  • Syed, the president and CEO of the health care artificial intelligence company Lumiata, was nominated by President Joe Biden on March 3
  • Republicans have previously raised concerns about the Planned Parenthood issue as well as Lumiata’s receipt of PPP funds and Syed’s association with the Muslim-American organization Emgage Action, which they accuse of being “vocally anti-Israel”
  • Democrats say they have offered Republicans all of the information they have on loans to Planned Parenthood affiliates, and committee chair Ben Cardin accused the party of “changing the goalposts” on what they need to bring Syed’s nomination up for discussion
  • More than 200 civic and religious organizations have backed Syed, with some charging that Islamophobia is driving the objections to the nomination
  • Democrats have also accused Republicans of depriving the SBA of an important leadership position at a time when the agency is seeing more demand, and say the continued boycotts have also impeded progress on other measures such as legislation making it easier for rural communities to qualify for disaster assistance

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