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Rep. Kevin Kiley (R-CA). (Photo: kiley.house.gov)

Rep. Kiley Crosses the Su-Be-Gone

Bill to end Julie Su’s ‘Acting’ appointment advances

By Thomas Buckley, September 14, 2023 5:51 pm

This morning, the House Education and the Workforce Committee approved a bill authored by Rep. Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) that would strip Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su of her position.

The bill – which mirrors Sen. Bill Cassidy’s (R-Louisiana) legislation – https://californiaglobe.com/fr/really-i-mean-it-please-go/  in the Senate – now heads to the whole House of Representatives where it is expected to pass.

Su, who became acting secretary when her predecessor Marty Walsh resigned in February, was nominated by President Biden thereafter to take over the position on a permanent basis.  However, she and the administration were unable to muster the votes in the Senate to secure her nomination so then proceeded to fall back on an obscure labor department law that purports to allow her to serve in an “acting” secretary capacity until, well, whenever.

The Biden administration, said Kiley, pushed hard to get Su through the nomination and when they realized that wasn’t going to happen – she could not muster enough Democrat votes – they decided they didn’t need a confirmation vote anyway. And came up with a “tortured” interpretation of the law that is “an insult to voters.”

Kiley said his bill – which essentially makes Su’s job fall under the federal Vacancies Act which has a 210-day limit on “acting” appointments – would ensure that a “constitutionally dubious forever nomination would never hang over the Department of Labor ever again.”

Kiley’s bill made it through committee – where Su had her defenders – on a party-line vote.

Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) said Kiley’s bill was a “cynical attempt to undermine the administration’s robust labor agenda.”

Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su. (Photo: House Committee on Education & the Workforce)

Adams said Su is serving legally, that there is nothing very unusual about the situation, and that Republicans are involved in “selective outrage” because they didn’t complain about former President Trump’s many “acting” officials (note – for the most part, Trump’s “acting” appointments were time-limited as per the law.)

Robert Scott (D-VA), the top Democrat on the committee, characterized the bill as an attack on a person who was “a highly effective leader in California.”

Scott, it would seem, does not read the Globe.  Obviously, Scott must be unaware Su’s draconian enforcement of anti-freelancer bill AB-5 that threw thousands out of work or that the Employment Development Department lost somewhere between $32 and $40 billion dollars to fraud during the pandemic.

“Julie Su does not have the votes to be confirmed as Labor Secretary and appointing her was a mistake. It is time to move on and appoint a new Secretary instead of continuing to try and install this nominee,” said Kiley. “Acting Secretary Su faces opposition from both sides of the aisle due to losing $32.6 billion in taxpayer funds to fraud and destroying the livelihoods of tens of thousands of independent workers in California.”

While the bill is expected to pass the House, Cassidy’s similar Senate bill will have a tougher time even though Su unquestionably has her Democratic detractors there and have expressed grave concerns about long-term acting appointments in the recent (read Trump presidency) past.

“An acting is no substitute for a confirmed secretary, in terms of both the gravitas they gain within the organization once they’re confirmed, and also the degree to which Congress can exercise oversight in that confirmation process,” previously opined Virgina Democrat Senator Tim Kaine.

A timeline for the floor vote on the Kiley bill is not yet set.

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