Labor nominee voted out of committee on party line vote
May 16th, 2013
12:29 PM ET
2 years ago

Labor nominee voted out of committee on party line vote

Washington (CNN) - Thomas Perez, President Obama's nominee to be labor secretary, was approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (H.E.L.P) committee on Thursday on a straight party line vote.

Perez has come under heavy fire from Republicans for his actions when he headed the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice earlier in the Obama administration.

The controversy surrounding Perez's nomination originates from Perez's role in a decision by the Justice Department not to become involved in a whistleblower case in Minnesota. Republican leaders charge the Justice Department decided not to so in order to persuade a St. Paul municipality to stop its challenge against housing discrimination guidelines being taken up by the Supreme Court.

Last week, GOP Senators blocked the committee vote by invoking a rarely used "rule to delay" procedural tactic, which angered Senate Democrats.

H.E.L.P. committee Chairman Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, said in a statement after the vote, "I am deeply disappointed that, after additional time was granted as a matter of courtesy, members of the Republican Caucus have now used procedural roadblocks to delay committee consideration of the president's Cabinet choice for secretary of labor, the eminently qualified Thomas Perez."

Senate Republicans remain steadfast in their decision to block Perez's nomination, saying he still hasn't fulfilled their request for specific documents.

Republican Senator Lamar Alexander criticized Perez on Thursday following the Senate committee's approval vote saying, "In my written questions to Mr. Perez following his confirmation hearing I asked him specific questions about whether he personally solicited he support for his nomination from companies he might regulate if her were to be the Secretary. He has yet to provide a direct answer to that simple question. This is particularly concerning in light of the current abuses of power we are seeing in this administration of the same sort."

Democratic support for Perez remains strong, despite criticisms by Senate Republicans of his transparency.

Democratic Senator Sen. Barbara Mikulski said Thursday morning following the vote, "I just want to say this – we would have a fine nominee. First of all he has a compelling personal narrative. The second generation of immigrant families he brings all those wonderful values that new immigrants do… He actually believes in America and he actually believes in America's promise and a Department of Labor would be part of the opportunity ladder to help people be middle class, to either stay there or to do better."

At 51, Perez is so far the only Latino nominated to Obama's second-term Cabinet. Now that Perez is voted out of committee, the full Senate must consider his nomination, which may be scheduled next week. A GOP filibuster, which would require 60 votes to break, appears likely.

CNN's Sara Fischer contribute to this report


Filed under: Justice Department • Thomas Perez
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Good Old Chicago Ganster Politics Where Lawless Rules

    This guy is a known criminal that has violated the law by using his private email account to conduct government business and evade detection of his shady dealings. He should be prosecuted, not promoted.

    May 16, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. California Gary

    OMG! The man is not only a "minority", he actually headed a civil rights department? No way the GOP can let a person like that hold any position of authority.........it goes against all of their core beliefs.

    May 16, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. John

    Here the GOP goes again.....first excited about not having to act on immigration reform and now filibustering Obama's only Latino appointee........The GOP wants to set a new all time Latino low vote in the next election, maybe go under 20%......talk about political suicide..........

    May 16, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  4. TomInRochNY

    Yet another filibuster, instead of simply voting for or against him and getting it over with. What a surprise!

    May 16, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  5. chilly g

    the gop is destoring america and its all has to do with race, they still can get over the fact we have a blacr president
    and there only interest is to make sure he fail in everthing he does but i dont't think the gop will ever win the
    presidential with the current crops of hater.

    May 16, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. just askin

    so lefties.... did they guy break the law or didn't he when he used his private email account to conduct government business????

    May 16, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. WiredweirdinSF

    This is another in a long list of incompetent, inept, corrupt appointments by the most corrupt, incompetent, inept president in history. Is this the guy that would do nothing about the Philadelphia Black Panthers standing in front of a polling place with clubs? Oh well the unions will absolutely love having another Obama appointee as corrupt as he is and they are.

    May 16, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  8. rs

    This guy is a known criminal that has violated the law by using his private email account to conduct government business and evade detection of his shady dealings. He should be prosecuted, not promoted.
    __________________________
    By that logic, Bush and Cheney and their entire WH staff should be prosecuted as well, as they usedtheir private e-mail accounts to conduct U.S. business.

    May 16, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  9. Eddie B

    our whole system is down the GOP has ruin our country

    May 16, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    rs

    This guy is a known criminal that has violated the law by using his private email account to conduct government business and evade detection of his shady dealings. He should be prosecuted
    --------------
    Hello, former governer Sarah Palin. Good thing that she resigned. She was about to be put on ice.

    May 16, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  11. just sayin

    the guy is a criminal from the justice dept that knowingly violates the law. so after what happened with the ap and the irs, obama wants a known criminal in a cabinet post? no way.

    =====

    During the course of its investigation, the committee asked Perez, under oath, if he had ever used his personal e-mail account to conduct government business, including for this questionable deal. Perez claimed he “could not recall” — although Justice subsequently admitted that he had sent more than 1,200 e-mails on Civil Rights Division business.

    Principal deputy assistant attorney general for legislative affairs Peter J. Kadzik admitted that Perez’s use of his private e-mail account violated the Federal Records Act.

    May 16, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |