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Sanders calls Eugene Scalia's Labor Dept. confirmation 'obscene'

Sanders calls Eugene Scalia's Labor Dept. confirmation 'obscene'
© Greg Nash

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersIntercept bureau chief says congressional progressives looking to become stronger force in 2021 Obama book excerpt: 'Hard to deny my overconfidence' during early health care discussions Americans have a choice: Socialized medicine or health care freedom MORE (I-Vt.) blasted Eugene ScaliaEugene ScaliaWhy millennials will win Trump's war on socially responsible investing Business groups, universities file lawsuit over new rules targeting H-1B visas Baldwin calls for Senate hearing on CDC response to meatpacking plant coronavirus outbreak MORE on Thursday after he was confirmed by the Senate to lead the Department of Labor, calling his nomination "obscene."

Sanders noted in a tweet that Scalia, the son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, previously worked in legal and lobbying roles on behalf of major companies such as Facebook and investment bank Goldman Sachs before he was tapped to join the Trump administration.

"As a corporate lawyer and lobbyist, Eugene Scalia made millions working for Chevron, Goldman Sachs, Facebook and other huge corporations, helping them undermine health and safety regulations," Sanders tweeted. 

"So naturally he's Trump's pick to lead the Labor Department. Obscene," he added. 

The Senate voted earlier Thursday to confirm Scalia to 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 left the department amid questions over his role in a 2008 plea deal for disgraced financier and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

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The vote was 53-44 and along party lines, with Sanders among three senators who did not vote Thursday, the others being fellow Democratic presidential candidates Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOvernight Defense: Dems want hearing on DOD role on coronavirus vaccine | US and India sign data-sharing pact | American citizen kidnapped in Niger Conservative operatives Wohl, Burkman charged in Ohio over false robocalls Senate Democrats want hearing on Pentagon vaccine effort MORE (D-Mass.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDemocratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry Obama endorses Espy in Mississippi Senate race Durbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority MORE (D-N.J.).

Sanders was on the campaign trail during the vote. A spokesperson noted his vote against Scalia would not have changed the outcome of the nominee's confirmation in the GOP-led Senate. The aide noted that Sanders previously voted by proxy against Scalia in committee.

During a confirmation hearing last week, Democrats raised questions about Scalia's positions on LGBT and disability rights. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved Scalia for Labor chief earlier this week, sending his nomination to the full Senate.

A Labor Department spokesperson said the department could not comment on Sanders's tweet Thursday.