Preston's Confirmation Process Underway

The Senate Banking Committee has scheduled a hearing on Tuesday to examine whether Steven Preston, the current head of the Small Business Administration, should take over the reins at the nation's beleaguered housing department.

Preston is the only witness before the morning panel.

Administration and Hill sources have told the Small Business Blog that SBA Deputy Administrator Jovita Carranza is expected to take over as head of the SBA if Preston is confirmed as head of the Housing and Urban Development Department.

Even if Preston gets the nod from the banking panel, he must be confirmed by the full Senate. Some Hill sources have said the confirmation process is likely to be "prickly" and "contentious." While Preston was well received on the Hill during his nomination process to take over the head of the SBA, he is expected to face tough questions next week from lawmakers who want to make sure that he's the right man for the big job of fixing the nation's housing crisis.

Preston was confirmed easily by the Senate when he was nominated by President Bush in 2006 to head the SBA.

HUD's previous director, Alphonso Jackson, resigned following allegations of favoritism in his dealings with a Philadelphia developer and criticism of his failure to implement an adequate response to the housing industry crisis.

By Sharon McLoone |  May 14, 2008; 2:10 PM ET Policymakers
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