Senate rejects Biden Labor nominee amid Democratic opposition


The Senate rejected a Labor Department nominee from President Biden on Wednesday night, after three Democrats joined with Republicans to oppose the pick.

A vote to advance David Weil’s nomination to lead the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division failed in a 47-53 vote, where a simple majority was needed to move forward. Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Mark Kelly (Ariz.) voted against the nomination.

“West Virginia small businesses are the heart of our economy and our communities. Mr. Weil’s track record and previous statements are problematic for many West Virginia employees and business owners. Ultimately, I could not support Mr. Weil because I do not believe that the health and well-being of our small businesses and the employees who rely on their success would be his utmost priority,” Manchin said in a statement. 

A spokesperson for Sinema said that she had “concerns with his ability to faithfully execute and uphold the law.”

“As she promised Arizonans, Kyrsten evaluates all nominees based on three criteria: whether or not they are professionally qualified, believe in the missions of their agencies, and can be trusted to faithfully execute and uphold the law,” a spokesperson said. 

A spokesperson for Kelly didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on his vote. 

The Hill spotted the three senators chatting just outside the Senate chamber shortly before they dealt a fatal blow to the nomination.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the chairwoman of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said in a statement after the setback that she was “incredibly disappointed.”

“I’m incredibly disappointed to see Dr. Weil, an exceptionally qualified nominee with a long track record fighting to ensure workers get the wages they have earned, did not get the votes tonight to be confirmed as Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor,” Murray said.

“Despite this outcome, I will never stop fighting for working families and for a fully staffed DOL with leaders committed to protecting workers,” she added.

Weil previously led the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division during the Obama administration.

But he’s faced fierce opposition from Republicans and some outside groups that urged centrist Senate Democrats to oppose his nomination.

Americans for Tax Reform, for example, previously urged Sinema and Kelly to oppose his nomination, arguing that he would be a “disaster for Arizona workers, families, and small businesses.”

—Updated at 11:03 a.m.

Tags Biden Biden nominees David Weil Department of Labor Joe Biden Joe Manchin Murray Patty Murray

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