WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate has voted 88 to 5 to confirm Jovita Carranza — currently the U.S. treasurer — as administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), filling a seat vacated in April by President Trump's first nominee for the post, Linda McMahon.
Ms. Carranza is a Treasury Department official who served as deputy SBA administrator during George W. Bush's presidency. She was nominated for the post in August and approved in late-December by the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
Ms. McMahon left the SBA to take a position at a pro-Trump super PAC. Chris Pilkerton, the SBA's general counsel, has been serving as acting administrator of the SBA since Ms. McMahon's departure.
Ms. Carranza has been U.S. treasurer since 2017 and in that role has been an adviser to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin working on financial literacy issues and the "opportunity zones" program created by Mr. Trump's 2017 tax law that provides capital gains tax breaks to investors who invest in economically distressed communities.
In a letter to senators, a group of business organizations—including the International Franchise Association, National Federation of Independent Business and National Small Business Association—noted 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.
Other signatories to the letter included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Hispanic Business Roundtable and the National Association of Realtors.
Ms. Carranza is a Chicago native and founder of the supply-chain management company JCR Group.
Prior to her first SBA appointment, Ms. Carranza had a 20-plus-year career at United Parcel Service (UPS), where she was the highest-ranking Latina in the history of the company. She started as a part-time, night-shift box handler and worked her way up to president of Latin America and Caribbean operations.
NSBA President and CEO Todd McCracken stated, "Jovita Carranza brings a wealth of experience as the new administrator for the SBA and she will be an asset to the small firms throughout the country."
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., chairman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, said ahead of the vote this week that he looks forward to working with Ms. Carranza "to modernize our existing programs, to meet the challenges that we have before us, and working 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."
The top Democrat on the committee, Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., said the SBA needs bold leadership at a time when small business owners are becoming more diverse, and he is "optimistic that Treasurer Carranza can be the leader and advocate that SBA and American small businesses need right now."