Linda McMahon answers a question at her Senate confirmation hearing. U.S. Senate video feed
Linda McMahon at her confirmation hearing Ana Radelat /

Washington – Linda McMahon’s nomination to head the Small Business Administration was quickly approved by members of a key committee, even as Democrats pulled out all the stops Tuesday to delay confirmation on several controversial Trump administration nominees.

The Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee voted on a bipartisan basis, 18-1, to report the nomination to the full Senate for consideration, possibly later this week

Sen Cory Booker, D-N.J., cast the only “no” vote for McMahon, who is a former chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment. She ran unsuccessfully twice for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut but remained active in politics as a donor to Republican candidates and causes, giving about 6 million to a Super PAC supporting Trump’s presidential campaign.

“In her nomination hearing last week, Mrs. McMahon made it very clear that she has the experience, understanding, and instincts necessary to bolster America’s small business community and advocate for much-needed regulatory reforms,” said Sen. James Risch, chairman of the small business panel. “It goes without saying that a nearly unanimous committee vote to approve her nomination shows that members from both sides of the aisle have great confidence that she is the right leader for the SBA.”

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, the highest-ranked Democrat on the committee, said that during that hearing she was “pleased to hear that Mrs. McMahon will serve as a passionate advocate for small businesses and that she believes the SBA should continue as a cabinet-level, standalone agency.”

“I look forward to working with Mrs. McMahon to help American small businesses succeed,” Shaheen said.

There had been concerns among some Democrats about the WWE practice of hiring contract workers who were not covered by health insurance.

But there was little criticism of McMahon after Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, who each defeated McMahon when they ran for their Senate seats, introduced the nominee to panel members last week, saying she was eminently qualified for the job.

“I think she will be an excellent fit for this agency,” Blumenthal said.

The Small Business Administration backs loans to qualified businesses that have had trouble getting credit at commercial banks. It has priority programs for women, minorities and the disabled.

Other nominees were not treated as well.

Senate Democrats on Tuesday refused to attend committee votes on two of Trump’s more controversial nominees, effectively delaying their consideration.

Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee boycotted votes to advance Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., Trump’s choice to head the  Department of Health and Human Services, and Steven Mnuchin, his selection to head the Treasury Department.

In addition, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee invoked a rarely used procedural rule to delay a committee vote on Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., Trump’s choice for U.S. attorney general.

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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