The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday advanced Julie Su’s nomination for labor secretary in an 11-10 party-line vote.
Ms. Su, currently the deputy secretary of labor whom President Joe Biden nominated to the department’s top job in March, would replace Marty Walsh, who left the post last month to work as executive director of the NHL Players’ Association, which represents professional hockey players in Canada and the U.S.
In a confirmation hearing before the committee last week, Ms. Su, who previously served as the secretary of the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency, was asked questions about SECURE 2.0 and the department’s work on a new fiduciary rule, but most of the hearing focused on other topics, such as employee classification, apprenticeships and child labor breaches.
Republicans on the committee have concerns about Ms. Su’s experience and past work in California. “A qualified secretary of labor needs to successfully handle negotiations, manage a department properly and refrain from partisan activism,” Sen. S Bill Cassidy, R-La., the committee’s ranking member, said Wednesday. “I haven’t seen evidence of Julie Su’s ability to do any of those three things.”
But Democrats see things differently. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said Wednesday that “no one has ever been nominated to be secretary of labor who is better qualified than Julie Su.”
Her nomination will now head to the full Senate for consideration where another close vote is expected. No Republicans supported her confirmation as deputy labor secretary in 2021 and none are expected to do so this time, which means the vote will be narrow.