WASHINGTON (AP) - Former wrestling entertainment executive Linda McMahon is on track to secure Senate confirmation to be the next leader of the Small Business Administration.
The Senate has been split mostly along party lines on most of President Donald Trump's Cabinet choices. But McMahon has faced little resistance after assuring lawmakers that she believes the SBA should continue as a Cabinet-level, stand-alone agency and that she would be a strong advocate for small business within the new administration.
A Senate panel recently approved her nomination by a vote of 18-1, moving the nomination to the full Senate for consideration. The vote is expected on Tuesday.
"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. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Businesses and Entrepreneurship.
Leading up to the vote for McMahon, the Senate narrowly approved Steven Mnuchin to serve as the next secretary of the Treasury Department despite strong Democratic objections over a banker they dubbed the "foreclosure king." The Senate also approved David Shulkin to serve as the next secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
McMahon waged two unsuccessful bids for the Senate in Connecticut, losing to the state's current senators, Democrats Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, despite spending nearly $100 million of her own money on the 2010 and 2012 races. The two former adversaries introduced her as part of her confirmation hearing and said they believe she would give good advice to Trump on policies affecting small businesses.
McMahon has continued to donate heavily to GOP groups and candidates, and was a multimillion-dollar backer of two political action committees working to secure Trump's victory in the November election.
The SBA is best known for the small business loans it makes and the disaster aid it provides to companies and entrepreneurs. The agency is also tasked with monitoring government officials' compliance with contract laws. Its budget is generally under $1 billion. The leadership of the SBA is considered a Cabinet-level position.
In nominating McMahon, Trump noted that she had helped grow WWE from a modest operation with about a dozen employees into a publicly traded global enterprise with more than 800 employees. McMahon stepped down from the company in 2009 to run for office.