Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su said she has no plans to stop acting as the Secretary of Labor even though the Senate has not – and will not – give her the job.
The highest-ranking Republic member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee, Sen. Bill Cassidy, took to the floor of the Senate today to demand that she – and President Joe Biden – re-think her idea.
“The President should not be allowed to bypass the will of Congress. It is unacceptable and yet another example of weak leadership from this administration,” Cassidy said. “Not only is this use of the DOL succession statute a violation of the advice and consent provision of the Constitution, but it will open up any action taken under her leadership to legal challenges.”
Su, who “led” the California labor department and its impossibly incompetent Employment Development Department during the pandemic, said she’s “I’m all in for doing it” in an interview with The Messenger https://themessenger.com/politics/julie-su-all-in-confirmation-labor-department-priorities last week. “I don’t have an intention of going anywhere.”
Su claimed she had “respect” for the Senate and the constitutionally-mandated “advice and consent” process. But Republicans point to the recent refusal of Vice President Kamala Harris to use the word “Acting” when referring to Su as proof the Biden White House is set on installing “Su as Labor Secretary anyway, in violation of the Constitution.”
In a bit of an “own goal,” Su has proudly noted that she was confirmed by the Senate for the position of deputy secretary in 2021. However, that also-difficult nomination was approved on a strict party-line vote and only – reports suggest – because she would be serving under Marty Walsh. For his part, Walsh – who left the job to take over the NHL players union, hence Su stepping up and the current contentiousness – was confirmed with overwhelming bi-partisan support, 68 to 29.
“As a Republican, I don’t expect to agree with the political positions of a Biden nominee. But I will remind my colleagues that former Labor Secretary Marty Walsh received strong bipartisan support for his unquestionable experience running organizations and handling negotiations. He worked to develop trust with both labor unions and the business community,” said Cassidy. “However, it is clear that Ms. Su is far from that mold. And for this reason, she has been unable to receive the votes necessary for confirmation, even when the President’s party is in the majority.”
Su’s opponents point to her draconian enforcement of California’s egregious AB 5 anti-freelancer law, her very close ties to “Big Labor,” her lack of negotiating experience, and her disastrous oversight of the EDD – $40 billion and counting lost to fraud – as reasons she should not be the Secretary of Labor.
It is this track record that caused a number of Senate Democrats to balk at giving Su the job. In theory she could lose one Democrat and Harris – as President of the Senate – could break the tie in her favor, but she could not lose two and she has lost more than two.
“Even moderate Democrats have come to accept that California’s radical policy makers are an absolute failure, including Julie Su,” said Tom Manzo, president of the California Business and Industrial Alliance which has been one of the nation’s leaders in the fight against Su’s nomination. “Su should have never been picked in the first place and Biden needs to move on.”
The Government Accountability Office is currently reviewing the situation and will render an opinion on how long Su can remain in office without being confirmed. Typically, acting appointments are allowed to serve about 210 days before they need to go, but the Biden administration is claiming Su can stay longer because of a labor-department specific exemption.
It is not clear when the GAO will issue an opinion, but it is expected soon as Su will hit that 210-day mark in about a month.
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