OAN Roy Francis
12:56 PM PT – Tuesday, February 28, 2023
President Joe Biden announced his decision on who will fill the role of Labor secretary on Tuesday.
“It is my honor to nominate Julie Su to be our country’s next Secretary of Labor,” Biden said in a statement. “Julie has spent her life fighting to make sure that everyone has a fair shot, that no community is overlooked, and that no worker is left behind. Over several decades, Julie has led the largest state labor department in the nation, cracked down on wage theft, fought to protect trafficked workers, increased the minimum wage, created good-paying, high-quality jobs, and established and enforced workplace safety standards.”
Marty Walsh, the current Labor secretary, will soon be departing from the Biden administration to run the professional hockey players’ union. Asian Americans within Congress had initially pressured the president to pick Su for the position of Labor secretary when he had first taken office, but he had picked Walsh instead, with Su becoming deputy Labor secretary.
Now, with Walsh’s impending departure, lawmakers once again pushed for Su to take the position. The Biden administration had explored several options before settling on Su. Among the alternative choices was the leader of Association of Flight Attendants-CWA Sara Nelson, who was supported by Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
Sanders, the Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee, will handle Biden’s nomination. The Vermont Independent had said that he does not know when Walsh will be departing, but that he will push the nomination of Su as soon as possible. He went on to say that he is confident in her, although she was not his first choice.
“She was not my first choice, but I’ve every confidence she’s going to do a great job,” Sanders said.
In preparation for the turnover, which is expected to happen in mid-March, Su has recently taken on an increased presence and responsibility within the agency in recent weeks.
Previously, Su had mostly remained within the capital while Walsh had traveled across the country regularly representing the Biden administration. He had also been a regular attendee alongside the president at various high-profile events.
Before becoming a member of the Department of Labor, Su had held several high-profile positions within the California state government, which included being the labor secretary under Governor Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.). Her tenure in the California state government was a major deciding factor to her becoming the deputy Labor secretary in the Biden administration.
Her opponents, however, had pointed out her support for controversial laws which classified many gig workers as employees instead of independent contracts. As well as how California’s unemployment system had struggled to properly administer benefits while she was in charge.
During the nomination process, Su will also face great scrutiny over her role in the Biden administration’s handling of the freight rail standoff in 2022, in which she had played a major role. She will also answer to the many questionable decisions made by the Department of Labor under her and Walsh’s direction, such as the recently finalized rule giving more freedom to fiduciaries to weigh environmental, social and governance factors in their investment decisions for 401(k) plans.
The nomination process is also likely to be impacted by the absence of John Fetterman (D-Pa.) who was recently admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The Pennsylvania senator had been admitted for in-patient treatment for depression following a stroke and several hospital trips in recent months. It is still unclear when he will be able to return to Congress.
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