On Tuesday, January 7, the U.S. Senate confirmed Jovita Carranza, former deputy SBA administrator under President George W. Bush, to head the Small Business Administration (SBA). Carranza was confirmed with wide bipartisan support in an 88-5 vote. Democratic Senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, and Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden of Oregon voted against Carranza’s confirmation.
Carranza will replace President Trump’s former head of SBA, Linda McMahon, who resigned in April 2019 to become chair of President Trump’s America First Action super PAC. Since McMahon’s resignation, Chris Pilkerton, the SBA’s general counsel, has been the acting head of the SBA.
Prior to her confirmation as the new SBA administrator, Carranza served in the Treasury Department as U.S. treasurer. While at the department, she worked on financial literacy issues and the “opportunity zones” program. The program rewards investors with tax breaks when they invest in low-income communities. Before entering into government service, Carranza spent more than 20 years at United Parcel Service (UPS), starting as a part-time night-shift box handler and working her way up to president of Latin America and Caribbean operations and vice president of air operations.
Carranza announced during her confirmation hearing in December that she intends to “put a particular emphasis on opening more doors for women and for entrepreneurs in underserved communities, including military families and veterans.” She went on to say she “will be a tireless advocate in the Cabinet for small businesses.”
As evidenced by her wide-margin Senate confirmation, Carranza has substantial bipartisan support. Republican Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) said he looks forward to working with Carranza to “ensure that small businesses have access to the resources they need to start, to grow, and to empower our nation at large.”
Similarly, Democratic Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) said he is “optimistic that Treasurer Carranza can be the leader and advocate that SBA and American small businesses need right now.”