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Biden renominates Julie Su as labor secretary despite Dem opposition

President Biden renominated Julie Su to be secretary of labor Tuesday after she failed to receive a Senate confirmation vote during the last session of Congress due to opposition from members of Biden’s own party.

Su, who has served as labor secretary in an acting capacity since March, was chosen again after her initial nomination was stalled for 281 days, one of the longest periods of any would-be Cabinet official.

“It is clear Ms. Su lacks the necessary votes for confirmation,” Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Ranking Member Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said of her reappointment.

“I urge President Biden to put forward a nominee who is committed to fair enforcement of our nation’s labor laws, will refrain from partisan activism, and is capable of being confirmed in the Senate.”

The White House announcement pointed out her unanimous confirmation by Senate Democrats to serve as deputy to former Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, whom she succeeded, and her endorsements from unions, business leaders, left-of-center organizations and Democratic caucuses in Congress.

“Acting Secretary Su uniquely understands the challenges workers and businesses face — which is why the President continues to stand by her nomination,” White House spokeswoman Emilie Simons told The Post.

Senate HELP Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) added in a statement that he would “strongly support” Su’s return to the Labor Department.

“Her strong pro-worker track record as Acting Secretary shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is the right person for the job. Her tireless and consistent work for working families across the country should continue as Secretary of Labor and I urge my colleagues to support her nomination,” Sanders said.

In July 2023, centrist Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced he would block Su’s confirmation, saying he had doubts about her ability “to collaboratively lead both labor and industry to forge compromises acceptable to both parties.”

“While her credentials and qualifications are impressive, I have genuine concerns that Julie Su’s more progressive background prevents her from doing this, and for that reason, I cannot support her nomination to serve as Secretary of Labor,” Manchin said.

The White House called out Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), then a Democrat, for opposing Biden’s nominee after both had voted to confirm her as deputy labor secretary in July 2021.

Cassidy and other Senate Republicans also opposed her confirmation, claiming that she had been serving unconstitutionally and “in perpetuity” as acting labor secretary.

They have argued that her tenure violates the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998, which states that officials may only serve in an acting capacity for 210 days.

Cassidy and other Senate Republicans also opposed her confirmation, claiming that she had been serving unconstitutionally and “in perpetuity” as acting labor secretary.

Su’s wait is the longest Cabinet-level official has avoided confirmation when the same party controls both the Senate and the White House.

House Republicans also prompted the Government Accountability Office to weigh in on the matter, but a subsequent report from the federal watchdog found Su to be “lawfully serving as the Acting Secretary.”

It determined “that the Vacancies Act’s time limitations on acting service do not apply” to her.

Su’s ascent to the top federal labor position came after Walsh, the former mayor of Boston, left government service in February 2023 to lead the National Hockey League Players’ Association.

Su previously faced tough questions from Senate Republicans about her time as California’s labor secretary, during which she oversaw $31.4 billion in employment payments to fraudsters.

She also delayed relief payments to 5 million Californians and wrongly denied them to 1 million more during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a state legislature report.


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