Biden Defies Vote Shortfall, Keeps Julie Su on as Labor Secretary!

President Joe Biden plans to keep Julie Su as the acting secretary of the Department of Labor indefinitely, despite facing obstacles to her confirmation in the Senate. Su has been serving as acting secretary since the departure of former Secretary Marty Walsh in 2023. She previously served as deputy labor secretary under Walsh, where she played a role in labor and supply chain disputes during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic recovery.

The Department of Labor is not subject to the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, which sets time limits for nominees to be confirmed by the Senate. A 1986 amendment allows the deputy labor secretary to perform the duties of secretary indefinitely until a new nomination is announced.

While Democrats, the White House, and prominent union voices have expressed support for Su’s confirmation, she currently lacks the necessary Senate support. Senator Joe Manchin has expressed concerns about Su’s “progressive background” and has indicated he would vote against her confirmation. However, the White House believes Su is qualified for the position and points to her accomplishments as acting secretary, including labor agreements with West Coast ports.

Republicans have also raised concerns about Su’s tenure as secretary of California’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency, where the state experienced $20 billion in fraudulent COVID-19 unemployment claims. Some centrists have not publicly declared their support or opposition to Su.

President Biden’s decision to keep Su as acting secretary mirrors the strategy employed by former President Donald Trump. Both Biden and Trump have used acting secretaries to bypass Senate confirmation protocols. However, a federal judge ruled in 2020 that some Trump administration officials serving in acting positions were in violation of the Constitution and the Federal Vacancies Reform Act.

Overall, the Senate confirmation process remains a hurdle for Su, and it remains to be seen if she will secure the necessary support for confirmation.

Written by Staff Reports

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