Warren hammers Labor nominee with 83 questions ahead of hearing

Warren hammers Labor nominee with 83 questions ahead of hearing
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Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate panel approves Scott Brown as NZ ambassador Senate confirms Trump's first lower-court nominee The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Mass.) is grilling President Trump’s Labor secretary nominee, Andy Puzder, ahead of his confirmation hearing Thursday.

Warren sent a 28-page letter to the fast food CEO Monday with 83 questions that included queries about his opposition to minimum wage laws, his company’s history of labor and discrimination lawsuits, and his potential conflicts of interest.

"My staff's review of your 16-year tenure as CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc., the parent company of Hardee's and Carl's Jr., reveals that you've made your fortune by squeezing the very workers you'd be charged with protecting as Labor Secretary out of wages and benefits," Warren wrote.

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"Your company's record of prolific labor law abuses and discrimination suits — the most of any major burger chain — gives me great pause given that as Labor Secretary you'd be charged with enforcing these very laws.”

She went on to ask Puzder how workers will be able to trust him to enforce laws fairly and aggressively if he still believes it’s preferable to replace his workers with robots, and if he’ll defend former President Obama’s overtime rule in court given his public criticism of the rule expanding overtime pay to some 4 million workers.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is scheduled to review Puzder’s nomination on Thursday. The hearing has been delayed five times.

Democrats are reportedly viewing Puzder as their best shot to block a Trump nominee. 

While groups have accused him of exploiting women in racy television advertisements and failing to pay workers proper wages, Puzder is also vulnerable to attacks from Democrats over his admission of hiring an illegal immigrant to be his housekeeper and previous accusations of abuse from his ex-wife in divorce proceedings, which she has since recanted.

“If confirmed as Labor Secretary, your decisions will profoundly impact the lives of 150 million American workers,” Warren wrote in her letter.

“Your policy choices will affect their paychecks, their ability to build financial security for themselves and their families, and their health and safety.”