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SBA's Mills Elevated to Cabinet-level in Proposed Reorganization

Mark Marich

SBA Administrator Karen Mills has been tapped by President Obama to join his Cabinet as part of a larger plan to consolidate the Small Business Administration and several other federal agencies with overlapping responsibilities. The move for Mills is effective immediately, but the reorganization plan requires the backing of Congress.

According to a statement released by the White House on Friday, the six "major departments and agencies that focus primarily on business and trade" that are slated for the merger are: U.S. Department of Commerce’s core business and trade functions, the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. According to the plan, Mills would lead the yet-to-be-named agency.

The vision for the new agency would be a one-stop-shop for entrepreneurs and business owners--from patenting filing to foreign export and everything in between. The price tag for improved efficiency is an estimated reduction in more than 1,000 jobs--however it could save roughly $3 billion over the next ten years, according to a report in the Washington Post.

The move has been initially met with applause from small business advocates, including those across the aisle from the President, including Sen. Olympia Snowe, the ranking member of the Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, and Rep. Sam Graves, chair of the House Small Business Committee. However, some are taking a wait-and-see approach while others are downright skeptical. Either way, with a general election around the corner and plenty of political posturing to come, there are no guarantees that the reorganization plan will make it through Congress.

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