By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Governor Tom Wolf’s nominee to head the state agency that licenses many types of businesses underwent intense grilling today during a confirmation hearing in Harrisburg over his role in the failed effort to regulate a former abortion clinic in West Philadelphia that later became known as Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s “House of Horrors.”

Pedro Cortés held the same position as secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of State under former governor Ed Rendell, and some members of Pennsylvania’s state senate are unhappy with his current nomination to serve in the same post under Gov. Wolf.

Cortés, for his part, told the Senate State Government Committee that the Gosnell case has taken its toll on him and his family.

“It’s actually bad enough that all this news has made its way to Miami, where my mother lives,” he told them.  “My mother thinks that I’m bigger than life, and now she’s thinking, ‘What? Is my son corrupt?’ And she knows better, so that is not the case.”

But Cortés defended his actions in the Gosnell case, insisting that if he had known what was happening, he would have done something about it.  He added that there’s no evidence he looked the other way.

In an unusual step, the committee voted to send the nomination of Cortés to the full Senate floor without a recommendation.