Manchin opposes Julie Su for Labor secretary, jeopardizing nomination

Manchin opposes Julie Su for Labor secretary, jeopardizing nomination

The Biden administration is calling out Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin over the nomination of Julie Su, a dramatic escalation in an effort to confirm a Secretary of Labor that has been stalled on Capitol Hill since February.

A White House official on Thursday said President Joe Biden would continue to fight for Su’s confirmation, calling his support for her “unwavering. “We hope,” the official added, “Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema reconsider their position.”

The official’s comments came just minutes after Manchin said he would oppose Su’s nomination. The West Virginia Democrat touted Su’s credentials as “impressive” but said he ultimately decided to vote against her over a “genuine concern” regarding ideology.

Sinema has been publicly undeclared, though the official’s comments suggest that the Arizona Independent has signaled to the White House that she has reservations about the nominee. Sinema does not generally forecast her votes. A spokesperson declined to comment.

With Republicans expected to be universally opposed to Su’s confirmation, she can only lose one person from the Democratic caucus and still win confirmation. No Republicans are expected to support her nomination.

“President Biden and his team continue fighting for Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su’s confirmation — because she is highly-qualified, experienced, and has proven herself time and time again when it comes to delivering for America’s workers and our economy,” the White House official said.

Su is currently the acting Labor secretary and is getting strong support from most of the Democratic Party. But Manchin, who is weighing a reelection run in his red state, has been voting against a steadily increasing number of President Joe Biden’s nominees.

Su did get some good news Thursday, as Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) said in an interview he will support her nomination. But Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) has also not indicated publicly whether he would vote to confirm Su, whose nomination has languished in the Senate for months.

It’s still unclear whether Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will bring Su’s nomination to the Senate floor. He said earlier this week that she “will be a very good Labor secretary, and we’re working hard to get her approved.”

Some Democrats want Su to stay on as acting secretary regardless of her prospects for confirmation.Su was confirmed as deputy Labor secretary exactly two years ago — and won Manchin’s support for that lower-level position.

Su has been serving as acting secretary since Marty Walsh left in March to lead the NHL Players’ Association. Bidenmoved quickly to nominate Su, who has thestrong backing of labor unions and Asian American and Pacific Islander advocacy organizations. Su would be Biden’s first AAPI Cabinet secretary, along with three other members of the Cabinet.

But Su has faced a barrage of criticism for her previous work overseeing California’s flawed unemployment insurance program, as well as her policy positions on hot-button subjects like rules governing independent contractors and franchise businesses. Su has met with a number of the holdouts in recent weeks, though she has yet to publicly win them over.

It is not clear what the administration would do if Su cannot be confirmed. Though there were several names floated when word got out that Walsh was entertaining the NHLPA job, there is not an obvious backup selection. And while Su can continue serving as acting Secretary on an indefinite basis, business groups have threatened to challenge actions she signs off on if she does so without Senate confirmation.

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Author: By Burgess Everett, Jennifer Haberkorn and Nick Niedzwiadek