Senate Affirms Trump’s Jovita Carranza As SBA Chief

President Trump has tapped Jovita Carranza to lead the Small Business Administration (SBA), a move confirmed by the Senate in a bipartisan 88-5 vote, The Hill reported.

Treasurer Carranza’s professional life was mostly at UPS, where she rose from loading trucks to becoming the company’s highest-ranked Latina in its history. Carranza served under President George W. Bush as the SBA’s deputy administrator, and was supported by the business community to head the SBA as its chief. In her role as U.S. Treasurer since 2017, Carranza was an advisor to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

As head of the SBA, Carranza will be the highest-ranking Latina official in Trump’s Cabinet, and is the first permanent head of the SBA in nearly a year. She said during her confirmation hearing that she would “put particular emphasis on opening more doors for women and for entrepreneurs in underserved communities, including military families and veterans,” adding that she “will be a tireless advocate in the Cabinet for small businesses.”

Prior to the vote on Jan. 7, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, said that he anticipates collaborating with Carranza “to modernize our existing programs, to meet the challenges that we have before us and [work] toward solutions that ensure that small businesses have access to the resources they need to start, to grow and to empower our nation at large.”

Committee member Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) pointed to the necessity of having a strong leader at the SBA, as small business owners become more integrated. He added that he is “optimistic that Treasurer Carranza can be the leader and advocate that [the] SBA and American small businesses need right now.”

Business organizations said in a letter to senators that “having Senate-confirmed leadership of the SBA will help to ensure that the department’s programs, that provide small businesses with access to capital and disaster assistance, are working effectively.” Groups that signed the letter include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the International Franchise Association, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and the National Association of Realtors. 

“Her coming on board provides that leadership continuity that’s needed,” said Tom Sullivan, VP of small business policy at the U.S. Chamber, who also served at the SBA during Carranza’s time as deputy administrator.

Even business groups critical of Trump’s tax law expressed support of Carranza.

“This is a fresh opportunity for the administration to refocus on issues or measures that could actually help small businesses,” said Frank Knapp, co-chair of Businesses for Responsible Tax Reform.

Trump announced in March that Carranza was his pick for the SBA following the departure of Linda McMahon, the SBA’s chief at the time. Carranza is stepping in at a controversial time for the SBA, surrounding its 7(a) small business lending program.