By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff
On September 26, 2019, Trump nominee Eugene Scalia was confirmed as Secretary of Labor by a 53-44 vote that fell strictly along party lines. Confirmation of the controversial nominee was widely expected. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee had narrowly approved the nominee by a 12-11 vote held only two days earlier on September 24. Many of those who opposed the nominee saw the process as unnecessarily rushed.
Immediately after the vote, Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) praised the confirmation, saying: “Eugene Scalia is well-qualified to the lead the Department of Labor with a steady hand at a time when workers’ wages are up and unemployment is near record lows. His nomination is supported by small business owners, employers, workers, former colleagues and mentees. Now that Mr. Scalia has been confirmed, I look forward to his getting to work to help continue to grow our economy and help workers gain the skills they need to succeed in today’s workplace.”
But Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, offered a different take: “The Secretary of Labor must be our nation’s chief advocate for working people. But Eugene Scalia has spent the bulk of his career representing corporations and business organizations. Now that he is confirmed, we urge Secretary Scalia to commit himself to promoting and enforcing the dignity, safety, and rights of working people.”
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) International President Mary Kay Henry said: “Eugene Scalia’s nomination being fast-tracked by Republican leaders shows they are willing to hurt everyone by keeping wages low, making it hard to join unions and allowing corporations to abuse their power and influence. The American public is not fooled by the timing of this nomination process. These Senators who hastily pushed Mr. Scalia’s nomination forward will have to answer to the working families that sent them to Washington.”
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