Senate Small-Biz Cmte. Approves Sargeant Nom.

October 12, 2011

The U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship yesterday voted 17-2 to approve the nomination of Dr. Winslow Sargeant to be the next Chief Counsel for Advocacy at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy. His nomination will now await a full Senate vote.

Dr. Sargeant has been serving in the position since Aug. 2010, when he was a recess appointment of President Barack Obama. He initially was nominated for the position in May of 2009, but his nomination had stalled in the Senate. The lone dissenters in yesterday’s vote were Sens. Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) and David Vitter (R-La.).

Dr. Sargeant is a former small business owner, having started his own semiconductor chip company in 1997. He also previously served as a program manager for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program at the National Science Foundation.

His nomination was supported by every living former chief counsel, including Jere Glover, who served for eight years in the position under former President Bill Clinton; Tom Sullivan, who served for the full tenure of former President George W. Bush; Thomas Kerester, who served from 1992-1993; and Frank Swain, who held the position during the administration of former President Ronald Regan.

NSBA and a number of other small-business organizations also supported his candidacy, arguing that it would be detrimental to interests of America’s small businesses for the Office of Advocacy to lack a presidentially-appointed, Senate-confirmed head.

The full Senate now must act on Dr. Sargeant’s nomination. NSBA urges them to do so with haste. The Senate should empower the lone federal office charged with safeguarding America’s small businesses from unnecessarily onerous regulations and immediately confirm Dr. Winslow Sargeant as chief counsel.