(Washington, D.C.) – For the fifth time, every Republican member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship failed to attend a scheduled business meeting to consider the nomination of Dilawar Syed to be Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The members’ refusal to attend the meeting once again denied the committee the quorum necessary under the Senate rules to forward the nomination. The committee was also unable to consider two bipartisan disaster assistance bills.

Chair Ben Cardin (D-Md.) spoke of the shifting justifications for denying Mr. Syed a vote and specifically rebutted Republican claims that Planned Parenthood was not eligible for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans—the most recent pretense for blocking Mr. Syed’s nomination.

The partisanship of the Republican Committee members—objecting to actions taken by the SBA under the Trump administration—is harming American small businesses, that are still struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic. SBA has not had a Deputy Administrator—the position responsible for the day-to-day operations of the agency—for more than 3 years due to the Trump Administration’s failure to put forward a nominee.

Mr. Syed’s nomination is backed by more than 230 civic, government, higher education, and business leaders and organization, including former Republican New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Black Chambers, the Small Business Investor Alliance, Small Business Roundtable, the Anti-Defamation League, and the American Jewish Congress.

Cardin said, “Mr. Syed is a qualified individual. He should be confirmed as deputy administrator. We’ve given SBA a lot of work to do. And we’re asking for accountability. It would be nice to have a confirmed deputy administrator so that we can work with that person and make sure our policies are being carried out the way we intent them to be. We know that we’ve heard from a lot of our small businesses that they need to have the full complement at the SBA in order to have the timely help they need during this pandemic and after this pandemic.

Click here to watch Cardin’s opening statement.