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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Plenty of support for SBA nominee

It is probably indicative of the current political climate that the least controversial Trump appointee is a woman who built her business around people who went by names such as Nature Boy, the Undertaker and, of course, The Rock.

But Linda McMahon, who co-founded the World Wrestling Entertainment with her husband Vince, sailed through her confirmation hearing this week and will in all likelihood be confirmed as the next administrator of the Small Business Administration.

The Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee voted 18-1 to send her nomination to the full Senate. She received praise from both Republicans and Democrats on the committee, with the only no vote coming from New Jersey senator Cory Booker.

Some highlights from her confirmation hearing:

CHAIRMAN Risch indicated in his opening that he wants McMahon to focus on reducing regulations that he says is strangling business today. He was particularly critical of SBA’s Office of Advocacy because it doesn’t do enough to push back on regulations that will have a negative impact on small businesses.

“They are supposed to stand up and complain loudly every time the Federal Government does something that affects small businesses,” he said. “It has not worked very well. I am hoping as we go forward that we are going to be able to make it work better.”

She agreed in her testimony that overregulation is a problem. It takes time, effort and money away from growing their business, she said.

When asked specifically about federal contracting, McMahon said she needs to study the small business programs and their goals before recommending changes.

“I would first like to fully understand what those projects are and how we can best fit the businesses to those contracts,” she said.

She wants to look at contract bundling and make sure that it isn’t taking opportunities away from small businesses. “I would really like to peel back some of that bundling and take a look at it so that we have the opportunity for our small businesses to really have that fair shot,” she said.

Several times different senators came back to the Office of Advocacy and McMahon agreed that the office needs more teeth to act as a better advocate for small businesses. She told Sen. Ernst that she would support the Prove It Act, which will give more of a voice to small business owners as regulations are developed. She called the bill, a common-sense thing.

Often at the crux about the concerns about the Office of Advocacy and overregulation was the Waters of the U.S. or WOTUS act. SBA complained that the environmental regulations required by the law would be an undue burden on small businesses but their complaints had little effect.

In an indication of how friendly the hearing was several senators were asking McMahon to commit to working with them topics such as taxation, contracting requirements and overregulation.

McMahon, of course, pledged that she would.

Some of my impressions from reading her testimony:

She doesn’t seem to have a specific agenda as far as actions she plans to take, and I mean that as a good thing. She seems very interested in rolling up her sleeves, talking to folks inside SBA and learning what is working and what isn’t before she moves forward.

“I’m going to be drinking from a fire hose for a while,” she said.

She’ll be a hawk when it comes to regulations, but that is in keeping with the overall Trump philosophy.

McMahon is a true believer in the power of small business, especially given her track record at WWE and her interest in fostering more women entrepreneurs.

A full vote by the Senate hasn’t been schedule yet but given the near unanimous vote by the committee, McMahon is virtually assured her confirmation.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Feb 02, 2017 at 9:52 AM

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