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 TrumpGiuliani associate Lev Parnas discussed Ukraine with Trump at private dinner: report Jim Jordan: Latest allegation of ignoring sexual misconduct is 'ridiculous' Trump's schedule shows open morning when impeachment hearings begin 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 SandersTech firms face skepticism over California housing response Press: Another billionaire need not apply Ex-Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick mulling 2020 run: report MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Energy: BLM staff face choice of relocation or resignation as agency moves | Trump says he's 'very much into climate' | EPA rule would expand limits on scientific studies Krystal Ball credits Gabbard's upswing in 2020 race to 'feckless' Democratic establishment Outsider candidates outpoll insider candidates 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 AlexanderJuan Williams: Republicans flee Trump Romney, Collins, Murkowski only Senate GOP holdouts on Graham's impeachment resolution The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Better Medicare Alliance — Impeachment angst growing in GOP 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 MurrayRetirement bill blocked in Senate amid fight over amendments Senate Democrats call on White House to abandon plan to collect DNA from migrants Overnight Health Care: Judge temporarily blocks Alabama near-total abortion ban | Sanders dismisses calls for 'Medicare for All' funding plan | Dems urge Trump not to back down on vaping flavor ban 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 AcostaThe 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 Sanders calls Eugene Scalia's Labor Dept. confirmation 'obscene' 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.