Sen. Snowe Meets with SBA Nominee
The official process to get Santanu "Sandy" Baruah situated as head of the Small Business Administration is slowly moving along since President Bush announced his intention to nominate Baruah last month.
Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, the top-ranking Republican on the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, met with Baruah this afternoon for about 30 minutes in her offices on Capitol Hill. Among the concerns she expressed with Baruah, is his positions on the controversial women's procurement issue, according to a Senate aide.
"For nearly eight years, the SBA has chosen the path of absolute least resistance and ignored a congressional mandate to make certain that women-owned small businesses can finally have a procurement program that makes a real difference," Snow said in a statement released today. "I am very concerned that the SBA will just re-issue this flawed rule as the final rule and undermine the will of Congress. That's why in our meeting today, I demanded Mr. Baruah make a commitment to either withdraw this proposed rule or defer action on this issue until the next administration."
Sen. Snowe hopes to question Baruah publicly this summer in a hearing before Congress adjourns for its August recess, a Snowe aide said. Panel Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) sets the committee's schedule.
The aide noted that Snowe would like to have the hearing soon because it could be disruptive to go through a lengthy confirmation process during hurricane season. Since the SBA provides disaster relief services to homeowners and businesses, late summer and fall months can be an exceptionally busy time for the agency.
Baruah currently is the nation's assistant secretary of Commerce for Economic Development.
By Sharon McLoone |
July 16, 2008; 5:07 PM ET
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