Biden's Labor Secretary Nominee Faces Doubts in Senate

Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Tuesday. Julie Su is testifying to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee about her qualifications to be the next labor secretary.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - President Joe Biden’s nominee for the next Labor Secretary, Julie Su, is scheduled to testify before the Senate on Thursday. However, key Democrats have refused to support her confirmation. This uncertainty has created doubt about her chances in the tightly divided chamber.

Several moderate Democrats haven't publicly declared whether they will support Su's nomination before her confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Biden selected Su in February, a civil-rights attorney and current deputy labor secretary to replace Marty Walsh as the head of the Department of Labor.

Su is the daughter of an immigrant who arrived in America on a cargo vessel. She would be the first Asian American to hold a cabinet position at the level of secretary in the Biden Administration. Biden said that her journey was proof of the "American Dream" and that she is committed to ensuring that this dream is within reach for all Americans.

Su's record as California's Labor Department head has been criticized by business groups. Her support for a California law, which was overturned, that would have forced ride hailing, delivery and trucking companies, such as Uber and Lyft to treat their employees as employees and provide benefits like paid sick leaves and unemployment insurance instead of independent contractors, is cited by the business groups.

Su is also responsible for the problems that occurred at the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency (California Labor and Workforce Development Agency) during the pandemic, when an unprecedented number of people applied for unemployment benefits and faced long working hours and the state paid out millions of dollars of fraudulent claims.

Democratic Senators Joe Manchin, Jon Tester, Mark Kelly, and independent Sen. Kyrsten S. Sinema all declined to state whether they would vote in favor of her confirmation. Democrats can't afford to lose any more votes than two in a Senate that is divided 51-49. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is recovering from shingles and has no set return date.

Manchin refused to comment on Su’s nomination in the past week. Tester promised to meet her afterward to "make sure that she is still right". Kelly stated he had no concerns over her voting record, but said he doesn't preview his votes. Sinema confirmed through a spokesperson that she doesn't preview her votes.

Su's current position was confirmed in 2021 by the Senate by a vote of 50 to 47.

Lisa Murkowski, a Republican senator from Alaska, said that she would vote against Su's confirmation to the Senate in 2021 due to 'how she handled unemployment compensation issues in California'.

Top Democrats have met at the Capitol to show their support for Su.

In a meeting on Monday with Su, Virginia Democrat Sen. Tim Kaine praised her for the work she has done on job creation and stated, 'She is doing a great job. I believe that her two-year record of success is impressive.'