While Republicans play obstructionist politics with Biden’s nominee for the Small Business Administration, small businesses are dying on the vine.
All across the U.S., small business owners are struggling to find enough employees, grappling with supply-chain issues, and trying to make ends meet. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden’s nominee for deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration is still languishing in the confirmation process.
Nominated back in March, Biden Administration candidate Dilawar Syed is well-qualified to head the SBA; his resume, experience, and 20-years as an entrepreneur make him an excellent fit for the post. Nevertheless, Senate Republicans have now on four occasions blocked his confirmation process from moving forward.
Syed is neither a radical progressive nor a corporate Democrat. That he hasn’t yet been confirmed has almost nothing to do with the candidate himself.
Yet Senate Republicans are blocking his nomination at every turn, leaving the post standing empty, the important job left unfilled. That they are doing so strictly for obstructionist reasons is becoming only too obvious. The idea is to run the clock out on every bit of business the Biden Administration would like to do over the next year.
Under normal circumstances, this might be understandable, if not even justified. Republicans block Democratic nominations; Democrats do the exact same thing with every Republican nominee.
But these aren’t normal circumstances. The country has suffered a great deal over the past years. None have suffered more than small business owners.
They need help. Not in 2022; now.
That political life inside the beltway has gotten a bit more antagonistic between the two parties hasn’t been a secret for some time now.
With with country as evenly divided as it is between Republican and Democratic voters, it is no surprise that conflicts between the two parties are as bitter and acerbic as they have ever been.
A blowout game doesn’t usually get too dirty. No one wants to watch the winning team fight in an underhanded way, and the team 20 goals behind doesn’t usually bother.
When the game is close, as it is between Republicans and Democrats, is when things really get ugly. As indeed they are.
With the notable exception of 13 Republicans who recently broke rank to help give the Biden Administration a badly needed win, Republicans and Democrats haven’t been eagerly working together to solve the many challenges currently facing the nation.
On the subject of more massive government spending packages, it isn’t hard to see why Republicans aren’t eagerly backing the Biden Administration. It is true enough that nothing in the recently passed bit of legislation is intended to fix immediate and pressing problems like inflation and higher fuel prices.
But while Senate Republicans are playing obstructionist politics, refusing to advance the nomination of a qualified candidate to fill an important post, small businesses across America are suffering badly.
The last nearly two years of mask mandates, quarantines, social distancing and vaccine mandates have taken their toll. The labor shortage, driven in part by overly-generous COVID-19 unemployment benefits, has hit small businesses owners hardest of all.
While the U.S. is widely known for its multinational corporations, it is actually small businesses which are the lifeblood of the American economy. Small and mid-size businesses employ tens of millions of people. They are also the lynchpin in many a supply chain.
With the country as evenly divided as it is, neither the Republican Party nor the Democratic Party can afford to ignore or take for granted any demographic group.
If Republicans want to win elections, the might consider backing Dilawar Syed; not only is he an extremely well-qualified candidate, he also happens to be a prominent figure in the Muslim-American community. If confirmed, Syed will become the highest-ranking Muslim official in the Biden Administration.
Many people, including many Muslim-Americans, immigrate to the U.S. to become business owners. The entrepreneurial spirit is something that brings millions of talented, driven individuals to the U.S. every year. Polls have consistently shown that many voters trust Republicans more on matter of the economy than Democrats.
Republicans might want to consider building on this reputation for being the pro-business, grow-the-economy party. By confirming this nominee, Republicans can demonstrate their commitment to small business owners- and to digging the economy out from the mess in which we currently find it.
In the run-up to the 2022 mid-term election, Republicans should be courting every vote, every demographic; demonstrating to every voter their commitment to the American people.
Instead, Senate Republicans refused to even show up for the most recent confirmation hearing, preventing a quorum and again preventing Dilawar Syed’s nomination from moving forward.
It is a tactic Senate Republicans on the Foreign Affairs Committee are also using liberally; obstructing nominees from moving forward in the process.
Small business owners in the U.S. really need this position to be filled. Congress has appropriated plenty of help for SBA economic disaster loans, the restaurant revitalization fund and other programs.
Clearly the SBA needs help distributing these funds. The SBA has failed so far to get this badly-needed relief to the small business owners who so desperately need it.
COVID-19 and its attendant shut downs and mitigation measures have already cost the U.S. more social and economic capital than anyone yet realizes. The longer small business owners are prevented from getting the help they need, the fewer small businesses there will be left to help.
When COVID-19 and economic shut-downs have already cost this country so much, it is difficult to watch obstructionist politics cost it even more.
Getting the country back on its feet won’t be easy; it is going to take leadership and commitment at the highest level. Dilawar Syed has the experience, qualifications and commitment to make 2022 the best year small U.S. businesses have ever had.
The question is, will Senate Republicans be part of the solution or remain a problem. If Republicans choose to continue to block this nominee, leaving small business owners in dire need with help so near, the Republican Party should not be surprised if their dreams of retaking the House and Senate in 2022 don’t come true.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)