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Senate panel advances Biden's education and labor secretary picks

Senate panel advances Biden's education and labor secretary picks
© New York Times/Pool

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee advanced President BidenJoe BidenPutin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting How the infrastructure bill can help close the digital divide Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president MORE’s picks to lead the Education Department and Labor Department on Thursday with broad bipartisan votes. 

The committee voted 17-5 to advance Miguel CardonaMiguel CardonaLocal leaders build pressure on Biden to cancel student loans COVID relief vital to successful reopening of schools Judge ruling upholds Connecticut school mask mandate MORE, the Connecticut commissioner of education, to serve as secretary of Education. 

Senators on the committee also voted 18-4 to advance Boston Mayor Marty WalshMarty WalshBoston mayor fires city's police commissioner months after domestic abuse allegations emerge Senate Latino Democrats warn about low Hispanic vaccination rates Labor secretary faces questions from Democrats in police chief controversy MORE (D) to serve as Secretary of Labor. Walsh is a former union leader who has been the mayor of Boston since 2014. 

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Republican Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulFauci to Chelsea Clinton: The 'phenomenal amount of hostility' I face is 'astounding' GOP's attacks on Fauci at center of pandemic message Fox host claims Fauci lied to Congress, calls for prosecution MORE (Ky.), Mike BraunMichael BraunIU parents protest school's vaccine mandates Rick Scott introduces bill banning 'vaccine passports' for domestic flights Braun-McConnell bill would protect Americans from IRS surveillance MORE (Ind.), Roger MarshallRoger W. MarshallRepublicans grill Biden public lands agency pick over finances, advocacy Senate passes resolution urging probe into COVID-19 origins Republicans seek vindication amid reemergence of Wuhan lab theory MORE (Kan.), Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Bipartisan group reaches infrastructure deal; many questions remain Black Republican advocates his case for CBC membership Scott: 'Lot of work left' in police reform talks MORE (S.C.) and Tommy Tuberville (Ala.) were the five votes against advancing Cardona’s nomination. His nomination now goes to a full Senate vote, which has not been scheduled yet. 

Paul, Braun, Scott and Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranOvernight Health Care: Moderna says COVID-19 vaccine is 100 percent effective in 12- to 17-year-olds | US achieves full vaccinations for half of adults | Trump on Wuhan lab: Now everyone agrees 'I was right' Senate confirms Biden pick to lead Medicare, Medicaid office Bipartisan Senate bill introduced to give gyms B in relief MORE (R-Kan.) were the four votes against advancing Walsh’s nomination. His nomination now advances to a full Senate vote, which has also not been scheduled yet. 

Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze Burr House Democrats to Schumer: Vote again on Jan. 6 probe Lara Trump lost her best opportunity — if she ever really wanted it Trump touts record, blasts Dems in return to stage MORE (N.C.), the top Republican on the panel, encouraged his colleagues to support both nominees and said he would approve the nominations on the Senate floor for the full vote. 

“Dr. Cardona has a background, qualifications, temperament to serve as secretary of education,” he said. He added that Cardona stressed the need for students to get back to school, a hotly contested debate during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Mayor Walsh respects the importance of job creators and the need for better coordination on job training programs,” Burr said before the vote.

Committee Chairwoman Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurraySenate GOP blocks bill to combat gender pay gap OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden suspends Arctic oil leases issued under Trump |  Experts warn US needs to better prepare for hurricane season | Progressives set sights on Civilian Climate Corps Progressives set sights on Civilian Climate Corps program: exclusive MORE (D-Wash.) called both nominees well-qualified before the vote.

“Last week the Committee had the opportunity to hear from both Dr. Cardona and Mayor Walsh,” she said. “And both proved what was already clear from their past experience — they are well-qualified for these roles and ready to work with Congress.”