Man in the Middle

New SBA head Hector Barreto has to please small business and Bush

Now that he's taking over as head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Hector V. Barreto Jr. faces a delicate balancing act. President Bush wants to slash the SBA's budget from $900 million to $536 million--a move that has angered the agency's supporters on the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship. "We don't want to see another hatchet job like this," Chairman John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) warned at a July 19 confirmation hearing.

Barreto, a Los Angeles financial-services broker who co-chaired the Bush campaign in California, promised to fight for programs like the New Venture Capital Program, which is designed to funnel investment to low-income business owners. To do so, though, this 39-year-old political neophyte may first need a course in the fine art of Presidential arm-twisting.

By Nicole St. Pierre

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