President Joe Biden is apparently adhering to the saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.”
On Tuesday, Biden renominated Julie Su to serve as secretary of labor, even though she didn’t receive nearly enough support in the Senate the first time around.
The problem for Su’s confirmation this time around is the same as it was originally. There are members of the Democratic Party who are opposed to her leading the Department of Labor.
Since March, Su has been serving as the acting labor secretary. Her original nomination was stalled for 281 days, which marks one of the longest such periods for a potential cabinet official.
Now that she has been renominated, some senators are speaking out in opposition of her once again.
Republican Representative Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who is the ranking member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said this week:
“It is clear Ms. Su lacks the necessary votes for confirmation. I urge President Biden to put forward a nominee who is committed to fair enforcement of our nation’s labor laws, will refrain from partisan activism, and is capable of being confirmed in the Senate.”
The White House seems to be digging its heels in the ground with this one, though.
In an announcement, the Biden administration said that Senate Democrats unanimously confirmed her to serve as the deputy to Marty Walsh, the former secretary of labor. She’s also received endorsements from congressional Democratic caucuses, business leaders, unions and many liberal organizations, the White House said.
Emilie Simons, a spokeswoman for the White House, told The New York Post:
“Acting Secretary Su uniquely understands the challenges workers and businesses face, which is why the president continues to stand by her nomination.”
While some liberal senators such as Independent Bernie Sanders — who caucuses with Democrats — said they’d back Su’s nomination, others have said they would not in the past.
Last July, for instance, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said he’d block the confirmation of Su.
When he made that announcement, he said that he doubted she had the ability “to collaboratively lead both labor and industry to forge compromises acceptable to both parties.”
“While her credentials and qualifications are impressive, I have genuine concerns that Julie Su’s more progressive background prevents her from doing this, and for that reason, I cannot support her nomination to serve as Secretary of Labor.”
Both Manchin and Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema — who has since left the Democratic Party to become an independent — were the subject of the White House’s ire for opposing Su’s nomination the first time around.
Both senators supported her in July 2021 for the deputy labor secretary post.
This time around, it’s uncertain whether Su can win enough support to be confirmed. Manchin announced he isn’t running for re-election to Congress, and Sinema — who has no ties to Democrats anymore — hasn’t announced her plans yet, either.