WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, issued the following statement in response to reports that President Bush will nominate Small Business Administrator Steve Preston to become the head of the Housing and Urban Development Agency (HUD).

“As our nation continues to cope with a massive housing crisis and credit crunch, I am encouraged that the President named a replacement for the outgoing HUD Secretary so quickly. Strong leadership at the helm of this troubled agency is vital. However, strong leadership at the Small Business Administration (SBA) also should be a priority. Historically, it has always been America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs that have pulled our country out of difficult economic times. I was concerned to learn that Mr. Preston will now be leaving the SBA for HUD where he may serve less then a year. While sending a positive signal to the housing market, this move again leaves the SBA without the strong leadership it needs.”