Trump Nominee McMahon on Small Business

By Ruth Simon A U.S. Senate committee is expected to vote this week on the nomination of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. co-founder Linda McMahon to head the Small Business Administration. Below are edited excerpts from Ms. McMahon’s testimony last week before the Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship. On whether the SBA should remain an independent agency: “When I was running for the Senate in Connecticut, I was a strong advocate for reducing duplicative programs. … When I was asked if I supported merging SBA into Commerce, I really wasn’t focused on SBA or Commerce. I was focused on the concept of merging agencies or reducing duplicative programs so that we could reduce those costs. I am a firm believer that the SBA needs to be a stand-alone agency. I am very proud that President Trump has kept it as a cabinet post.” On her top priority in her first months at the SBA: “I want to take a look at our disaster-relief program because disasters don’t pick a time, they happen, and we need to be prepared for those disasters. I don’t know how effective they have been. I know that when (superstorm) Sandy hit a few years ago…there was a delay in time of response from SBA. ... We have to be ready for disaster relief. When our small businesses are put out of business for a while, the economy suffers.” On whether the SBA’s loan authority should be increased: “What I would first like to see is, are all of our loans being made effectively? Are the loans we are making going where we think they are going and have the results that we want to see? … I want to make sure we are serving more and more minorities, small-business owners, our veterans, our Native Americans. But I need to know to know first of all, are the loans we are making effective? And, if they are, then let’s increase it.” On the SBA Office of Advocacy, which represents small business in dealings with regulatory agencies: “I would really like to strengthen that office because I have always been a defender of the little guy. We need somebody who is going to go to bat for our small businesses. I am just the girl to do that. … I would like to find the most effective way to put teeth in that Office of Advocacy.” On mentorship: “I think it’s really important that we do mentor these small businesses. A lot of times someone has a wonderful idea. …They come in with sort of an abstract business plan. ... Sometimes you have to look at them and say: ‘This is not a good idea. This business really doesn’t look as though it has the legs to succeed.’“All the other things you have identified is like a blueprint for success: lower taxes, fewer regulations and all of that. But sometimes you don’t have the basic understanding of what it is going to take to have a successful business. There needs to be that aspect of mentoring as well. I think that will help us grow more quality businesses that do have the opportunity to succeed.” On regulation: “Small businesses want to feel they can take a risk on expansion or a new hire without fearing onerous new regulations or unexpected taxes, fees and fines that will make such growth unaffordable.” Write to Ruth Simon at

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