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White House Plans to Keep Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su in Position Despite Senate Opposition
The White House intends to utilize a little-known law to retain Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su in her position even if she fails to secure Senate approval. This decision is a result of Su automatically becoming Acting Secretary under the organic statute upon Secretary Walsh's departure, rather than being appointed under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act. Consequently, Su can serve as Acting Secretary indefinitely, without being subject to the time limits set by the Federal Vacancies Reform Act. Su was promoted to the role of deputy labor secretary earlier this year and was later nominated to replace Marty Walsh on a permanent basis. However, her nomination has faced resistance within the Senate, where Democrats possess a slim majority and Republicans are opposed to her appointment.
The White House's Considerations
The White House's decision to retain Su as Acting Labor Secretary acknowledges the challenges associated with finding a politically feasible solution amidst President Joe Biden's preparations for his 2024 re-election campaign. Labor leaders and unions are staunch supporters of Su, and Biden has vowed to be the most pro-union president in American history. Replacing Su with a more corporate-friendly nominee in an attempt to secure Senate approval risks alienating a key constituency without any obvious political benefits. Consequently, the White House is standing firmly behind Su, emphasizing their unwavering support for her.
The nomination process for Su has been stalled in the Senate for several months due to the unified Republican opposition and the withdrawal of support from Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. GOP senators are critical of the White House's decision to retain Su without formal Senate approval, describing it as a violation of the constitutional provision of advice and consent. This situation has prompted calls from Republican lawmakers for President Biden to withdraw Su's nomination. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed frustration with the delay in Su's confirmation, highlighting the length of time her nomination has spent in limbo. Nonetheless, a Senate Democratic aide involved in the debate asserts that the language of the Vacancies Reform Act allows Su to serve as Acting Secretary as long as her nomination is pending.
Precedent and Political Considerations
The practice of keeping federal agency officials in acting roles without Senate approval has precedence, as demonstrated during the Trump administration. President Donald Trump retained several department and agency heads despite the lack of confirmation from the Senate, with minimal opposition from Republicans at the time. In the current situation, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has not explicitly stated whether he supports Su's continuation in an acting role if she fails to secure the necessary votes. However, he expressed confidence in Su's qualifications and stated that efforts are being made to ensure her confirmation.
Conclusion: Potential Impact on New Business
The controversy surrounding the White House's decision to keep Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su in her position despite Senate opposition could have implications for new businesses in the United States. Here's a hot take on how this topic may impact them:
1. Labor Policies and Regulations: Julie Su's potential confirmation as the permanent Labor Secretary could have significant implications for labor policies and regulations. Her background as a labor rights advocate and her support from unions suggest that she may prioritize workers' interests over corporate interests. This could lead to more stringent labor regulations and enforcement, which could impact how new businesses operate, particularly regarding issues like worker safety, minimum wage, and employee rights.
2. Union Relations: The White House's support for Julie Su indicates a pro-union stance, aligning with President Biden's promise to be the most pro-union president in history. This could strengthen labor unions' influence and bargaining power, which may impact new businesses in sectors with heavy union representation. Startups and small businesses may face challenges in negotiating labor agreements, potentially affecting their costs and operational flexibility.
3. Political Landscape: The Senate opposition to Julie Su's nomination highlights the partisan divide over labor policies. With a slim Democratic majority, it is becoming increasingly difficult to push through controversial nominations. This political landscape may foster prolonged debates and uncertainties surrounding key positions, including the Labor Secretary. New businesses may face delays in policy changes and regulatory alignments, making it harder to navigate the evolving labor landscape.
4. Precedent and Stability: Su's retention as Acting Labor Secretary using a little-known law shows that there are alternative paths to maintain officials' positions despite Senate opposition. This could set a precedent for future administrations, creating a situation where key positions remain in limbo, impacting stability and clarity for new businesses. Uncertainty in leadership and policy direction may affect decision-making processes and long-term planning.
Ultimately, the outcome of Julie Su's nomination and the implications for new businesses will depend on how the political dynamics play out. It is crucial for entrepreneurs and business owners to closely monitor these developments and adapt their strategies accordingly to navigate potential changes in labor policies, union relations, and political landscapes.
Article First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/07/21/biden-to-keep-julie-su-on-indefinitely-as-labor-chief-despite-lack-of-senate-votes.html