Week ahead: Trump labor nominee's hearing delayed

Week ahead: Trump labor nominee's hearing delayed
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President Trump's second labor secretary nominee will have to wait a bit longer for his confirmation hearing.

Alexander Acosta was slated to head before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday, but his hearing has been rescheduled for the following week.

"Because Chairman [Lamar] Alexander will be joining President Trump in Nashville on Wednesday, Alexander Acosta’s confirmation hearing will be rescheduled to Wednesday, March 22nd at 9 a.m.," said a spokeswoman for the senator, who heads the committee. "The Executive Session for committee members to vote on Mr. Acosta’s nomination will be scheduled for the following week."

A former member of the National Labor Relations Board, Acosta was chosen last month after Trump's first pick, fast-food CEO Andy Puzder, withdrew his own nomination after it became clear he lacked enough Republican support for confirmation. 

Democrats had assailed Puzder for his labor record at his companies. But he also lost Republican support for hiring an undocumented immigrant housekeeper.

Trump quickly announced Acosta's nomination within 24 hours after Puzder withdrew.

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Labor and civil rights groups are asking senators to examine Acosta's record as closely as they would have Puzder. 

"America's women and working families depend on the labor secretary to protect and defend their rights while advancing policies that promote fair and family friendly workplaces, such as paid sick days, paid family and medical leave, and stronger wage and hour protections," Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, said in a statement after his nomination. 

"That urgent work must continue."

If confirmed, Alexander Acosta would be Trump's first Hispanic Cabinet member.

It's a busy week ahead for lawmakers, with a number of other hearings tackling regulatory matters.

On Tuesday, Christopher Hart, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) heads to Capitol Hill for a Senate Science subcommittee hearing examining truck safety.

On Wednesday, the inspectors general of the Transportation Department (DOT) and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will head to Capitol Hill for a House oversight hearing. But the heads of those departments -- Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Housing Secretary Ben Carson -- are not expected to be in attendance.

Also on Wednesday, the Senate Commrece Committee holds a hearing on drones. Earl Lawrence, director of the Office of Unmanned Aircraft Systems at the Federal Aviation Administration, will testify.

Meanwhile, a House Small Business subcommittee will hold a hearing Thursday examining the impact of so-called cafeteria benefit plans on small businesses.

This story was updated at 10:34 a.m.