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NEWS | New Staff at SBA, Key Vacancies Remain

A robust SBA team means a strong small business community.

Earlier this week, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabella Guzman announced a new slate of appointees to fill a handful of open positions at the SBA. NSBA welcomes the new SBA staff members in SBA’s Offices of Congressional and Legislative Affairs, and Communications and Public Liaison, as well as the new Director of Public Engagement.

Unfortunately, there remain three key openings that require a presidential nomination to proceed.

Among NSBA’s top priorities for small business is a robust and functioning SBA – a standard only possible with a complete and effective leadership and staff. Despite NSBA repeatedly calling on the administration to nominate – and lawmakers to act on said nominations – three key positions among top SBA leadership remain open. Those include:

  • SBA Deputy Administrator - This position is responsible for the day-to-day management of the agency. The absence of a deputy administrator is especially serious given the growth of the SBA’s operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020 alone, the SBA administered $970 billion in small business aid. Efforts to confirm nominee Dilawar Syed have been stalled by Senate Republicans since November 2021.

  • Chief Counsel for the SBA Office of Advocacy – This critical position has been vacant since 2017, with no additional attempts to advance a nominee to confirmation since March 2019. This position is one of 10 senior openings within the Office of Advocacy, which serves as the small-business watch-dog when it comes to the federal regulatory process.

  • The Office of the National Ombudsman – This position oversees the process to provide recourse to small businesses experiencing undue regulation and has been unoccupied since August 2020 without any appointment from the SBA Administrator.

While NSBA welcomes the new staff at SBA and looks forward to working with them, SBA continues to grow its portfolio absent much-needed leadership. NSBA proposes the following steps to right this wrong.

  • Republican members of the Senate Committee on Small Business must sit for a quorum and allow the confirmation of SBA appointments to be brought to the Senate floor for a vote.

  • The administration should move quickly to appoint a permanent Chief Counsel for Advocacy. This role is urgently needed as the federal rule-making process continues to ramp-up, potentially creating decades of unfair regulatory burden.

Likewise, the SBA Administrator must act urgently to appoint a National Ombudsman through whom small businesses can respond to undue federal burdens or other regulatory issues.

Please take a few moments today to urge your lawmakers to seek action on these three critical SBA vacancies.

Before today’s announcement of these new SBA leaders, NSBA advanced the SBA vacancies as a top priority, which our members and leaders addressed during our most recent Small Business Congress (SBC). Read our policy brief on SBA vacancies here, and please consider joining us at our upcoming SBC this February.


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