Senate Republicans blocking Mr. Syed’s confirmation to the Small Business Admin are hurting small businesses…and Republican midterm prospects.

19 June 2015; Dilawar Syed during day two of the conference. EnterConf 2015, T13, Titanic Quarter, Belfast. Picture credit: Mark Marlow / SPORTSFILE. (photo: Enter Conf)

Dilawar Syed was helping small business owners long before he was nominated to the Small Business Administration by President Joe Biden in March of 2021.

Mr. Syed was there post-2008, when an economic downturn threatened many U.S. small businesses and start-ups. Working with the Obama Administration, Syed dedicated much of his time in those days to making sure as many small businesses survived the crunch as possible.

He continued connecting small business owners- especially those in historically underserved and marginalized communities- with state and federal assistance programs through the California Governor’s office in the years that followed.

Over the last year, Dilawar Syed did even more of the same- giving generously of his time in an effort to help keep U.S. businesses afloat during a global pandemic.

His qualifications, his own personal success as an entrepreneur, and his long experience advocating for small business owners are the reasons President Biden nominated Dilawar Syed to be the deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration in the first place.

As he has clearly shown over the last two decades: With or without a desk to sit behind at the SBA, U.S. small businesses can count on Dilawar Syed.

The question is, can small businesses count on Senate Republicans?

Currently, Senate Republicans are hurting small businesses badly and threatening the U.S. economic recovery for the sake of petty obstructionist politics. Four separate times since March, they have prevented a vote on Dilawar Syed’s confirmation by refusing to even show up.

Their reasons for this blockade keep changing, but it now hinges on loans the SBA made over the past 18 months to Planned Parenthood and affiliates. Republicans say the loans weren’t lawful; Democrats say they were.

Since Dilawar Syed didn’t even work for the Small Business Administration at the time, it is difficult to see this latest objection as anything besides grasping at straws.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is leading the charge against Dilawar Syed and he in particular should reconsider this senseless and needless stall tactic.

Small businesses in his home state are suffering mightily. There are warning signs for Sen. Paul among Kentucky business owners who aren’t taking kindly to this stonewalling of a qualified SBA nominee.

While Senate Republicans drag their feet on Dilawar Syed, the deputy administrator position he has been tapped to fill remains empty. The Small Business Administration, with its current staff, is doing all it can to distribute COVID-19 aid to sinking small business owners.

But only with a full complement of leadership can the SBA operate at capacity. Never mind that the SBA really needs to be operating well over its normal capacity at this time, considering the many challenges of COVID-19.

The owners and operators of small and mid-sized U.S. businesses have all they can handle at the moment. At the end of an extremely long 18 months, what small businesses that have managed to survive are facing even more hardship.

The holiday season is upon them. Always a make-or-break time for many businesses, this holiday season in particular is presenting new and more difficult challenges. A supply-chain crisis, swelling inflation, and a labor shortage are compounding every problem.

What small businesses need most is a little more time; time to dig out from beneath a mountain of COVID-19 and mitigation measures; time to rebuild cash-flow; time to repair their ravaged businesses.

It is time many small business owners just don’t have, even with help so near.

The worst part of this logjam, and what should be making Senators like Rand Paul and Marco Rubio reconsider their obstructionist stance, is that compared to the average mom and pop, large corporations haven’t a care in the world. Big companies aren’t being hurt by gaps in leadership at the SBA caused by Senate Republicans; only small operations.

Whatever COVID-19 assistance is available, whatever government largesse big companies are qualified to receive, will be in the corporate coffers by close of business same day.

A team of corporate lawyers, accountants and consultants will see to that.

Who is going to help the owner of the corner deli down the street- the one in the economically-disadvantaged area? Who is going to make sure that minority-owned diner you like is still open for breakfast?

The Small Business Administration doesn’t exist without reason.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs need help from the SBA and Senate Republicans have the power to give it to them.

It is unfair for Republican Senators to play politics with people’s livelihoods on the line. With the future prospects of the U.S. economy in so much immediate danger, it is even more indefensible.

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)