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 TrumpSchiff pleads to Senate GOP: 'Right matters. And the truth matters.' Anita Hill to Iowa crowd: 'Statute of limitations' for Biden apology is 'up' Sen. Van Hollen releases documents from GAO investigation 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 SandersBiden, Sanders contend for top place in new national poll Biden leads Democratic primary field nationally: poll Warren calls for Brazil to drop charges against Glenn Greenwald MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenHarris weighing Biden endorsement: report Biden, Sanders contend for top place in new national poll Biden leads Democratic primary field nationally: poll 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 AlexanderSenate Republicans confident they'll win fight on witnesses Administration to give Senate briefing on coronavirus Overnight Health Care: Trump restores funding for Texas program that bars Planned Parenthood | Trump to attend March for Life | PhRMA spent record on 2019 lobbying 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 MurrayAdministration to give Senate briefing on coronavirus Conservative groups aim to sink bipartisan fix to 'surprise' medical bills Democrats request briefing on intel behind Trump's embassy threat claim 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 AcostaFlorida sheriff ends work release program criticized over Jeffery Epstein The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by National Association of Manufacturers — Whistleblower complaint roils Washington On The Money: Senate confirms Scalia as Labor chief | Bill with B in wall funding advanced over Democrats' objections | Lawyers reach deal to delay enforcement of NY tax return subpoena 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.