It’s been four months since the nomination of Julie Su for Labor Secretary in the Biden administration and her supporters admit she doesn’t have the votes right now to be confirmed, reports USA Today.
Su is vying to become the first Asian American at the secretary level to serve in the Biden administration. The President is the first since Bill Clinton’s first term in 1993 to not have Asian American representation as a cabinet secretary. Clinton appointed Norm Mineta as Commerce Secretary in 2000.
“We don’t have enough votes yet, and I don’t know the basis of the hold-up from some of my colleagues,” Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii on June 2.
Democratic leaders are projecting an optimistic front despite the delay.
“Her nomination is on track, but we need everybody here to vote,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) told the Washington Examiner. “I absolutely think she’ll make it through, she’s going to be a terrific secretary of labor.”
Many moderate Democrats have either expressed opposition to Su or have not declared how they will vote. Republicans have dismissed Su on Party lines, criticizing what they say is her lack of connection to the business community and her handling of pandemic funds as state labor secretary in California.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W VA) has not said how he will vote on the nomination. Fellow Democrat Mark Kelly (D-AZ) is also on the fence.
“I met with her, I’m still listening to folks, I did vote for her in her deputy post, but I have a policy of not previewing how I’m going to vote ahead of time,” said Kelly.
Jon Tester of Montana and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an independent from Arizona, is also undecided, USA Today reports.
On the Republican side, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska could break party ranks and support Su.
“I think she’s demonstrated what is needed to be the next secretary of labor,” American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, one of the letter signers, told USA TODAY.
Back in May, 250 business leaders came out in support of Su, CNBC reported.
“Julie Su is a trailblazer whose track record speaks for itself,” the group wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “She led efforts to combat wage theft, expand access to health care and paid family leave, and provide legal services for workers facing exploitation. Additionally, her experience as U.S. Deputy Labor Secretary has given her a thorough understanding of the Labor Department and the current issues facing the economy, businesses, and workers.”
The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Women’s Caucus have all come out in support of Su.
Congress is expected to go on recess from July until August. The Democrats hope to have Su confirmed before then.
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