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 TrumpFormer Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right 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 SandersWarren, Daines introduce bill honoring 13 killed in Kabul attack trillion tax hike the opposite of 'good investment' Progressive groups call for Puerto Rico Fiscal Control Board to be abolished MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Daines introduce bill honoring 13 killed in Kabul attack Boston set to elect first female mayor Progressive groups call for Puerto Rico Fiscal Control Board to be abolished 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 AlexanderLamar AlexanderAuthorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate The Republicans' deep dive into nativism Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain 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 MurrayConservation group says it will only endorse Democrats who support .5T spending plan Support the budget resolution to ensure a critical investment in child care Senate Democrats try to defuse GOP budget drama 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 AcostaOn The Money: Trump slams relief bill, calls on Congress to increase stimulus money | Biden faces new critical deadlines after relief package | Labor rule allows restaurants to require broader tip pooling Labor rule allows restaurants to require broader tip pooling Federal litigator files complaint alleging Labor secretary abused his authority 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.