News Column

Thomas Perez Confirmed as Labor Secretary

July 18, 2013
Thomas Perez
Thomas Perez (file photo)

U.S. President Barack Obama said Thomas E. Perez, confirmed by the Senate Thursday to head the Labor Department, will help "grow our economy."

The 54-46 party-line vote came one day after the Senate voted 60-40 to end a Republican filibuster on the nomination.

"I welcome today's confirmation of Tom Perez to serve as secretary of Labor," Obama said in a statement. "At the Department of Labor, Tom will help us continue to grow our economy, help businesses create jobs, make sure workers have the skills those jobs require, and ensure safe workplaces and economic opportunity for all."

Obama thanked the Senate for agreeing to move forward on Perez's nomination as well as those of other nominees "who have waited far too long for the yes-or-no votes they deserve."

The vote followed an agreement between Senate Democrats and Republicans this week to allow up-or-down votes on several executive department nominees.

The Senate Wednesday confirmed the nomination of Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Fred Hochberg to head the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

Perez succeeds Hilda Solis, who resigned in January.

Congressional Republicans accused Perez, the outgoing head of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, of inappropriately intervening in a St. Paul, Minn., lawsuit seeking to limit fair housing claims.

With the vote on the Perez nomination out of the way, the Senate began consideration of Gina McCarthy's nomination as Environmental Protection Agency administrator, The Hill reported. A confirmation vote could happen as soon as Thursday.

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Source: Copyright UPI 2013

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