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Senate panel advances Trump Labor pick Scalia

Senate panel advances Trump Labor pick Scalia
© Greg Nash

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee on Tuesday voted along party lines to advance Eugene Scalia, President TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE's nominee to lead the Labor Department.

Democrats questioned Scalia’s record on LGBTQ rights and disability rights at a hearing last week, questioning past writings and court cases. He is the son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

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The panel approved his nomination 12-11, with no Republican senators voting against the nominee. Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersClub for Growth to launch ad blitz in Georgia to juice GOP turnout Inequality of student loan debt underscores possible Biden policy shift In defense of incrementalism: A call for radical realism MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenInequality of student loan debt underscores possible Biden policy shift Thomas Piketty says pandemic is opportunity to address income inequality The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE (D-Mass.), two presidential candidates who sit on the panel, were not present at the markup but voted against Scalia by proxy.

Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, and it does not appear that GOP members are opposed to Scalia's nomination. 

HELP Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderWe need a college leader as secretary of education As Biden administration ramps up, Trump legal effort drags on The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump holds his last turkey pardon ceremony MORE (R-Tenn.) opened the markup noting that he believed "it’s fair to vote on Mr. Scalia today" despite attempts by Democrats to delay the vote.

“Workers and families across the country are counting on us to take our vetting responsibilities seriously, especially since President Trump obviously wont,” Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayNational reading, math tests postponed to 2022 amid coronavirus surge Democratic anger rises over Trump obstacles to Biden transition DOJ investigation into Epstein deal ends without recommended action MORE (Wash.), the panel’s top Democrat, said in her opening statement.

She added that Scalia has a “long, alarming record.”

“Mr. Scalia would be a secretary of corporate interests, not a secretary of Labor. The last thing we need is one more person in this administration using their power to look out for those at the top and no one else,” Murray added.

Scalia would replace former Labor Secretary Alexander AcostaAlex Alexander AcostaFederal litigator files complaint alleging Labor secretary abused his authority Appeals court to review legality of Epstein plea deal Appeals court finds prosecutors' secret plea agreement with Epstein didn't break law MORE, who resigned amid questions over a plea deal he brokered more than a decade ago as a U.S. attorney for the now-deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Scalia, 55, is a partner at the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and is a member and former co-chairman of its labor and employment practice group. He also co-chairs the firm’s administrative law and regulatory practice group.

He also served as solicitor of the Labor Department from 2002 to 2003 after his appointment by then-President George W. Bush.