The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) on Tuesday, February 27, 2024, narrowly advanced the nomination of Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su to serve as permanent Secretary of Labor. The Committee voted 11-10 to advance her nomination to the full Senate floor, according to media reports.
The HELP Committee held a markup on Su’s renomination in a closed-door meeting Tuesday. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), HELP Committee Chair, issued a statement of support. “She has been an excellent Deputy Secretary of Labor, an excellent Acting Secretary of Labor, and I believe that she will make an excellent Secretary of Labor. Her strong pro-worker track record and tireless dedication to working families across this country shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is the right person for the job. I urge my colleagues to support her nomination.”
The Senate HELP Committee previously voted to advance Su’s nomination to Labor Secretary in April of 2023 but it has stalled since.
President Joe Biden first nominated Su last spring to replace former DOL Secretary Marty Walsh, who departed in February 2023. Her nomination was returned to the White House last December after failing to garner sufficient support to clear a path to confirmation by the full Senate. In January 2024, President Biden promptly renominated Su for the post. She continues to face staunch opposition, however, and her nomination is not expected to be approved by the full Senate.
Su has served as Acting Secretary of Labor since March 2023. During this time, the DOL has engaged in significant rulemaking, including releasing a final independent contractor rule, a sweeping revamp of the Davis-Bacon regulations, and a proposed rule revising the minimum salary requirements for application of the DOL’s “white-collar” exemptions. Prior to that, she served as Deputy Labor Secretary, a post for which she was confirmed by the full Senate to in July of 2021.
Also this week, business groups registered their continuing opposition to Su’s nomination.
In a letter Tuesday to HELP Committee members, Jeff Brabant, National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Vice President of Federal Government Relations, wrote, “As Acting Secretary, Julie Su’s Department of Labor has consistently demonstrated a lack of interest in complying with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, which requires the Department to consider the impacts its regulations will have on small businesses.”
“No matter how many times she’s renominated, Julie Su’s record remains a huge red flag for our industry and any senator concerned about radical policies from California becoming federal law,” American Trucking Association President and CEO Chris Spear said Tuesday.”