By Russell Blair The Hartford Courant
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Linda McMahon, who built Stamford-based WWE from a one-desk operation to a global company with more than 800 employees was easily confirmed by the Senate to lead the SBA.
The Hartford Courant
Retired wrestling executive Linda McMahon was easily confirmed by the Senate Tuesday to run the federal Small Business Administration.
McMahon, a 68-year-old Republican from Greenwich , was approved by a 81-19 vote, getting the support of many more Democrats than most of President Donald Trump's cabinet nominees. Both Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy both voted for her.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said McMahon will "prioritize growing jobs over growing government
bureaucracy." "In so many states, including mine, that's a welcome change from Washington," he said.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, the top Democrat on the Senate Small Business Committee, said she voted against many of Trump's cabinet nominees but would support McMahon.
"Mrs. McMahon shares my vision for a strong SBA that will support America's entrepreneurs," she said. "And I was particularly pleased to learn ... that she opposes efforts to merge the SBA into another agency."
McMahon and her husband, Vince, built Stamford-based WWE from a one-desk operation to a global company with more than 800 employees. During her confirmation hearing last month, where she was introduced by Blumenthal and Murphy, she talked about the company's humble beginnings, including having to lease a typewriter because she couldn't afford to buy one.
"Mrs. McMahon, who built a company from the ground up understands the many challenges small businesses can face," McConnell said. "She's certainly come a long way from sharing a desk with her husband and leasing a typewriter."
McMahon stepped away from the business in 2009 for the first of two U.S. Senate campaigns. She lost to Blumenthal in 2010 and Murphy in 2012.
"As I've said before, while Linda and I haven't always seen eye-to-eye, I look forward to working with her to help small businesses in Connecticut," Murphy said in a written statement after the vote. Blumenthal, in a written statement, said: "As a Connecticut businesswoman and entrepreneur, Linda McMahon knows that small businesses are our country's most vibrant and vital job creators."
After the two bruising campaigns where she spent $100 million of her personal fortune, McMahon remained active in Republican politics as a donor. She contributed a total of $7.5 million to super PACs supported Trump's candidacy, though he wasn't her first choice for president. She initially backed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, but the McMahon family has a long relationship with Trump.
Other cabinet nominees have led to all-night talking sessions and strident opposition from Democrats, but that wasn't the case with McMahon.
In a vote by the Senate Small Business Committee last month, McMahon received only one "no" vote, from Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.
The SBA assists small businesses and entrepreneurs primarily through providing government-backed guarantees on loans. Its administrator is a cabinet-level nominee that requires Senate confirmation.