(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship Chair Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today expressed his disappointment that the Republican members of the Committee intend to continue their months-long blockade of Dilawar Syed’s nomination to be Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). In addition to blocking consideration of the critical SBA nominee, the Committee was unable to consider bipartisan legislation to both authorize a pre-mitigation disaster aid program and make it easier for small businesses in rural communities qualify for disaster assistance. The business meeting has been rescheduled to Wednesday, November 17 at 2:30pm.
“I am disappointed that my Republican colleagues are still putting partisan politics over the needs of our most vulnerable small businesses,” Cardin said. “I have been in conversation with Dr. Paul in recent days to find a path forward on this critical nomination, and I remain committed to seeing that Mr. Syed receives a vote from the full Senate. I am hopeful that in the coming weeks, Dr. Paul and his Republican colleagues will end this harmful exercise, so Mr. Syed can use his sharp business acumen and commitment to underserved small businesses to improve the SBA and help our small businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Republican Committee members’ failure to attend today’s business meeting follows months of intransigence belied by shifting accusations and personal attacks levied against Mr. Syed. In September, one week after denying the committee a quorum to consider the nomination, Ranking Member Paul blocked Chair Cardin’s attempt on the Senate floor to discharge the nomination from the committee.
The partisanship of the Republican Committee members is harming American small businesses, who 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.
Dilawar Syed is uniquely qualified to help lead SBA as it continues to deliver aid to small businesses. Syed would bring to SBA 20 years of experience leading companies that are driving major impact across the technology, healthcare, and business services sectors. He has also built a stellar record as a civic leader and advocate for entrepreneurs in minority, rural, and other underserved communities—a vital asset for SBA in the years ahead as the agency invests in the entrepreneurial ecosystems in those communities.
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.