Senate panel advances Biden’s education and labor secretary picks
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee advanced President Biden’s picks to lead the Education Department and Labor Department on Thursday with broad bipartisan votes.
The committee voted 17-5 to advance Miguel Cardona, the Connecticut commissioner of education, to serve as secretary of Education.
Senators on the committee also voted 18-4 to advance Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (D) to serve as Secretary of Labor. Walsh is a former union leader who has been the mayor of Boston since 2014.
Republican Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.), Mike Braun (Ind.), Roger Marshall (Kan.), Tim Scott (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 Moran (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 Burr (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 Murray (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.”