The nomination of Hector V. Barreto Jr. to head the Small Business Administration won approval Thursday from a Senate committee Thursday, but not without protests over budget cuts sought by President George W. Bush.

"It's a massive reduction in the agency's capacity. You would be presiding over an operation that you would be shutting down," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., the Small Business Committee chairman.

Equally critical was Missouri Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, the panel's top Republican. Bond blamed career Office of Management and Budget employees for proposing a hatchet job that would reduce SBA spending to $539 million from $900 million for the coming fiscal year.