President Donald Trump has officially nominated William Barr for attorney general, signaling renewed support for the business community, according to reports.
Bloomberg reported Friday (Jan. 11) that Barr's history in corporate America signals President Trump's efforts to place a business-savvy executive at the head of the Department of Justice (DOJ). Barr has served in top-level positions at Verizon, GTE and Time Warner Cable, making him the first DOJ nominee in decades with such an extensive corporate background.
Reports also noted the stark contrast between Barr and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who focused his time as the nation's top prosecutor on issues like immigration and marijuana. Barr, on the other hand, could bring his experience in overseeing mergers, cases of financial fraud and issues related to corporate bribery to the post.
The Senate, currently controlled by Republicans, is likely to confirm Barr's nomination, reports said. He will begin a confirmation hearing this week.
While Trump's DOJ pick is viewed as a corporate ally, some lawmakers are criticizing Trump for allowing the nation's longest government shutdown to impede the Small Business Administration's (SBA's) ability to provide small business loans, The Washington Post reported. The SBA halted small business lending on Dec. 22 amid the shutdown, and on Friday, the House Committee on Small Business Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) called on Trump to restart the lending program.
"The level of anxiety is unprecedented," said Velázquez, adding that Trump must "definitely reopen" the SBA lending program.
"It is important [for] small businesses [that] apply for loan guarantees that they are able to get their money," she added. "This is going to have a direct impact on the operation of their businesses."
In a letter to SBA Administrator Linda McMahon, Velázquez inquired about how McMahon would handle the backlog of small business loan applications once the government shutdown ends, reports said.