Week ahead: Labor, SEC nominees head before Senate

Week ahead: Labor, SEC nominees head before Senate
© Getty Images

President Trump's second choice to lead the Labor Department will take center stage next week on Capitol Hill.

Alexander Acosta, the Labor secretary nominee, is scheduled to head before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) on Wednesday.

His hearing had already been delayed once. Last week, the committee pushed back Acosta's confirmation hearing so Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Finance: Trump says shutdown 'could happen' | Ryan, conservatives inch closer to spending deal | Senate approves motion to go to tax conference | Ryan promises 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Senate approves motion to go to tax conference House conservatives, Ryan inch closer toward spending deal MORE (R-Tenn.) could join Trump for a trip to Nashville.

Acosta is a former member of the National Labor Relations Board. He was tapped for the Labor post last month after Trump's first pick, fast-food CEO Andy Puzder, withdrew his own nomination.

Puzder lost Republican support after reports he had once hired an undocumented immigrant as a housekeeper. His nomination had also faced fierce opposition from Democrats and union groups who criticized his labor record at his businesses.

While Acosta hasn't faced the same level of opposition, labor groups are pressing Democrats ensure a tough hearing.

Acosta's not the only high-profile regulatory nominee on the Senate's docket.

On Thursday, the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of Wall Street lawyer Jay Clayton to head the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The Office of Government and Ethics reviewed Clayton's financial disclosures and cleared him of any potential conflicts of interest earlier this month, setting up the hearing.

Also on the regulatory front, the president's 60-day freeze on regulations in the pipeline is coming to an end.

In January, Trump's chief of staff Reince Priebus ordered all agencies to halt any new regulations.

For regulations that had already been published in the Federal Register, Priebus directed the agencies to delay those rules for 60 days, a period which ends in the coming week.

But don't expect a flurry of new regulations. Many agencies are reviewing those rules after giving the public more time to comment.

Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee will face his first round of questions from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee at his confirmation hearing Monday

His confirmation hearings could take days, and Democrats are expected to grill him on a number of legal issues.

Many Democrats are also insisting that Gorsuch clear a procedural hurdle with a 60-vote threshold to be confirmed in the Senate. With a 52-48 GOP majority in the chamber, that would require eight Democrats to back his nomination.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerAmerica isn't ready to let Sessions off his leash Schumer celebrates New York Giants firing head coach: ‘About time’ GOP should reject the left's pessimism and the deficit trigger MORE (D-N.Y.) said if Gorsuch can't get the 60 votes, Trump should appoint a new nominee. 

"If a nominee cannot get 60 votes, you don't change the rules, you change the nominee," Schumer said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE (R-Ky.) has not committed to changing the filibuster rules, though, despite encouragement from Trump.

Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, in the House, the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies will hold a hearing Wednesday on the budget for the Education Department.