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Democrats Will Try To Vote On Dilawar Syed Confirmation, Despite GOP Boycott

President Joe Biden nominated Dilawar Syed to be the second-in-command at the Small Business Administration, but Republicans have been blocking him from getting a vote. (Photo: Eric Risberg/Associated Press) Senate Democrats will try to move forward Thursday on the nomination of Dilawar Syed, who would become the highest-ranking Muslim official in the administration if confirmed.

The problem, however, is that Republicans have blocked him from receiving a vote. On at least three occasions , they have refused to show up to Senate Small Business Committee hearings, denying a quorum for senators to meet and conduct business.

And it’s not clear Thursday will be any different.

President Joe Biden nominated Syed to be deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration in March.

Syed is a Pakistani American businessman who has stepped into public service roles in both California and at the federal level, leading engagement with small businesses for President Barack Obama’s administration after the passage of the 2009 stimulus package. He is also co-founder of AAPI Victory Fund, a super PAC dedicated to mobilizing Asian American voters.

Republican senators’ reasons for blocking Syed have shifted over time. They now say they will oppose filling the deputy SBA job until the Biden administration commits to taking back loans to some Planned Parenthood affiliates under the Paycheck Protection Program.

The loans, however, were handed out during President Donald Trump’s administration. They were meant to help small businesses keep employees on their payrolls during the pandemic. Planned Parenthood’s affiliates are nonprofit organizations with leadership and funding structures separate from the national group, but Republicans say they are too closely tied and should not have received the money.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the ranking member of the small business committee, told HuffPost Wednesday that he still wasn’t satisfied with the response he’s received from the Biden administration on Planned Parenthood ― suggesting that Syed will still be blocked Thursday.

“They haven’t been forthcoming on any of this,” he said. “So we’re not really happy with that.”

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