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Rep. Kevin Kiley (CA-03). (Photo: Rep. Kevin Kiley official photo, 118th Congress)

Kiley Takes Fight Against Julie Su to House Floor

‘I don’t want the rest of the nation to suffer the same way California has’

By Thomas Buckley, April 28, 2023 11:53 am

Though the vote whether or not to confirm Julie Su as the next Secretary of Labor will happen in the Senate, a half-dozen Representatives took to the House floor this morning to urge their senatorial colleagues to vote against Su when the time comes.

Led by California’s own Rep. Kevin Kiley (R-Roseville), the members lambasted Su’s dismal record during her time leading the state’s unemployment agency, her support for legislation that seriously damages the independent employee economy, and her political obsequiousness to big labor.

“I don’t want the rest of the nation to suffer the same way California has,” said Kiley, requesting the Biden administration withdraw Su’s nomination.

Currently the top deputy at the Department of Labor, Su led the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency – which includes the notoriously incompetent EDD – during the pandemic.  Under her watch, the EDD lost about $40 billion to fraud, the job-killing anti-freelance/gig economy AB-5 bill was implemented, and the state saw thousands of businesses either shutter or flee California.

Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT) said Su’s policy agenda has expelled businesses from California and put the state “on the fast track to bankruptcy,” while Rep. Bob Good (R-VA) wondered if “people will start leaving the United States” as they did California when Su was the labor chief here.

Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL) voiced concern that Su was part of millions of Americans losing their jobs due to the various COVID vaccine mandate, while Rep. Nathaniel Moran (R-TX) said Su’s record shows she consistently puts “big business and big labor” ahead of the rights of workers.

Kiley noted that even California legislative Democrats (in a joint letter during the pandemic) called Su’s pandemic leadership a “disaster,” with Assemblywoman Connie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine) saying Su’s EDD “caused heartache for millions of Californians” for failing, among other things, to pay legitimate benefits in a timely manner.

During Su’s testimony in front of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee last week, she claimed she “shut the front door” on unemployment fraud the moment she became aware.  That statement is false, according to the state auditor, whose office repeatedly warned Su what was happening and even went so far to criticize her for “mismanagement” and departmental “deception.”

Su also led the committee to believe California had one of the lowest pandemic unemployment fraud rates in the nation; that, too, is false.  In fact, California had a rate of about 22% and, while having only about 12% of the nation’s workers, processed 21% of all unemployment claims which, one would assume, should have been seen as a red flag to the EDD , but was instead – like its sending 1,700 (total worth of up to about $22 million dollars) benefit cards to the same address – ignored.

Despite the lies, Su made it through the senate committee on a strict party-line vote, sending her nomination to the full Senate.  When that vote will occur is not yet known.

Even when the vote is taken, Su is far from a sure thing to be confirmed, as at least four Democrat Senators have yet to commit to a “yes” vote.

And if she loses only two, she doesn’t get the gig.

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