March 13th, 2009
09:34 AM ET
13 years ago

Solis sworn in at Labor, two posts still vacant

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Biden swore in Solis as Labor Secretary Friday."](CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden swore in California Rep. Hilda Solis as the next Secretary of Labor Friday Morning, one of three cabinet posts that had yet to be formally filled.

"When she held hearings on sweatshops she was heard," Biden sad of Solis Friday. "When she fought to protect low income and minority communities from landfill and pollution and environmental hazards – she was heard. And in Congress, when she stood up, she stood up to level the playing field for workers to organize – she was heard."

The Senate confirmed Solis, 51, for the post last month.

Even with Solis' swearing in, the Obama administration still has two open cabinet posts, Secretary of Commerce and Health and Human Services. That's more cabinet vacancies than any of his recent predecessors at this point into a new presidential term.

Although Obama has named nominees for the top posts at the Departments of Commerce and Health and Human Services, they have yet to be confirmed by the Senate. President Clinton had two lingering cabinet vacancies almost two months into his second term, but the Senate confirmed his pick for Energy Secretary on March 12. Clinton’s other vacancy was for the Labor Secretary post, which the Senate filled on April 30.

In 1989, President George H.W. Bush had four cabinet vacancies heading into March of his first year in office, but the Senate confirmed his picks for Energy and HHS on March 1 and his Veterans Affairs secretary nominee on March 2. The fourth vacancy, which was for Secretary of Defense, was filled by the Senate on March 17.

The length of time Obama is taking to complete his Cabinet has surprised a number of political observers. The president announced his Cabinet picks at a rapid clip after last November's election, but quickly became entangled in various nominees' tax and ethics problems.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson bowed out of the running for commerce secretary on January 5, citing the distraction of a federal investigation into ties to a company that has done business with his state.

Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire - Obama's second Commerce pick, cited "irresolvable conflicts" with the administration over the economic stimulus bill when he withdrew his name from consideration on February 12.

Former Washington state Gov. Gary Locke is the president's third choice to head the Commerce Department.

Obama joked during his announcement of Locke that he is "a big believer in keeping at something until you get it right."

Former Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota - who was selected to be secretary of health and human services - withdrew on February 3 after controversy erupted over his tax records and questions over his work in a field that some consider lobbying.

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is Obama's new pick for secretary of Health and Human Services.

Former Rep. Hilda Solis was sworn in as the administration's labor secretary Friday. The Senate voted 80-17 to confirm the four-term California congresswoman after consideration of her nomination had been briefly delayed by a review of a possible tax controversy surrounding her husband.

Filed under: Joe Biden
soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. ijoe

    off topic here!but i'm just wondering how come when the markets are down cnn can't wait to shout it out on the ticker an on all there tv shows,giving obama the blame.but it's bin up for three days now and they hardly talk about it,an obama can't seem to get the credit.why is this? anyone?

    March 13, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  2. A New Era

    There nothing wrong with making sure you get the right person for the right positions. Better having the right persons than just confirming any persons.

    March 13, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  3. Kevin in Ohio

    Bring on "Card Check".... and the demise of one more freedom in this country! I am confounded that anyone can support getting rid of the secret ballot in America. But, afterall, what can you expect from a socialist regime?

    March 13, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  4. Jefe

    "...fought to protect low income and minority communities from landfill and pollution and environmental hazards."

    As any Bush Republican can tell you, protecting from pollution hurts the economy. As the ol' Neoconservative maxim goes, a few million tons of toxic waste in a neighborhood is a small sacrifice to make for an increase in corporate profits, especially if it means drastic increases in healthcare expenses

    March 13, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  5. Scott

    ijoe – Because it has nothing to do with the Messiah.

    March 13, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  6. JP

    She is a horrible choice. She backs the misnamed employee free choce act. How does doing away with secret ballots mean free choice. Increasing union membership will further hurt the economy. Look what unions did for the American auto and steel industries. The bill would also allow the goverment to dictate wages and contract terms (solialism). Why would anyone back such a stupid bill $$$ the unions gave Obama and the DNC $300 million this past election cycle. Unions = less work for more money. Say good by to low prices at Walmart.

    March 13, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  7. Dave

    Every day is better with Obama.
    Thank God we have him in the Oval office and W gone to Texas.

    March 13, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  8. there will be setbacks when...

    you have the opposing party's chief strategist "Oxycotton" trying to talk him to failure

    Instead of helping we have an obstructionist party led by a pill popper

    March 13, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  9. Kevin in Ohio

    Ijoe...... the market is up because Obama has been keeping his mouth shut. Any time he makes an announcement, which is always covered, the market goes down. Comprende?

    March 13, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  10. Typical White Person

    Still no story on CNN on how Maxine Waters (D) got TARP money for her husband's bank that was not elligible for it...

    March 13, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  11. David in KC

    Nothing like good old fashioned INEXPERIENCE to keep positions open.

    March 13, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  12. chris

    I remeber when he first took office, everyday CNN would say how this administration is making history for how quickly they are filling the cabinet, how great Obama is...blah blah blah. Well what happened? I'll tell you what happened you've been slapped back down to reality like alot of people that supported Hillary and McCain said you would be. OBAMA DOES NOT KNOW WHAT HE IS DOING AND HE HAS NO POLITICAL POWER.

    March 13, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  13. Yrsa

    Hey! Guess what? I need a job. I pay my taxes and don't hire illegal immigrants as my housekeeper or gardener. I'm smart, hard-working, ethical and haven't been corrupted by Washington politics or lobbyists. Oops, guess that means I'm not qualified for an Obama government post. Darn.

    March 13, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  14. Watchful Cowboy

    Very simple – good news is no news!

    March 13, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  15. jim071562

    I am not surpised, considering he has been trying to pick out a dog for his daughters since election night!

    March 13, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  16. George

    After 8 years of Bush Communism, anything will be an improvement.
    And the Free Choice Act will show again that America is the land of the free. Free from being fired because you want a union.

    March 13, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  17. caleb

    Hey... give him a break... it's very hard to find liberals that pay their taxes.

    That's one of the reasons they love to raise them.

    March 13, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  18. alvino

    Kevin in Ohio-

    This (card check) does not get rid of the secret ballot, it just gives workers another option. You have been listening to Rush (I'm more unamerican than Hanoi Jane) Limbaugh. Please check the abuses of management before you make such a statement.

    March 13, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  19. stillsupportspresident

    You people live in the land of hyperbole. How can you sum up a whole party because some people make mistakes? There are few Americans without flaw. Remember even your precious Laura Bush killed someone in a car accident. People do things. We are human. We are all good and we are all evil. Get over it.

    March 13, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  20. David, Chicago, IL

    Wow, this one really brought out the bigots and haters, didn't it?

    March 13, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  21. yuri

    BHO's vettin' venues have received vehement and vitriolic vituperations from many circles, and for right reasons in some cases, we believe, as we have stated before. Even some of his swearin' ins have come under derisive diatribes by certain sections of political observers.

    March 13, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  22. alvino

    Kevin in Ohio-

    You are 0 for 2 on your posts today. Not like you.

    According to you, the market drop from almost 15,000 to 7,500 under Bush in less than a year had nothing to do with the economic policies of the republicans, the drop from 7800 to 6500 was Obama's fault, and the 600 point gain this week had nothing to do with Obama?

    March 13, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  23. Rev. Joseph J. Johnson

    Why does so-called Americans have to be so negative about President Obama, when "W" lead us into the mess we are in. All the nay-sayers need to chill out, be patient, and see what the end results will be. And as for comedian Rush Limbaugh, he needs to take a chill pill, oh I forgot, he's already taking his medicine. if no one in America will listen to a crack head, why should we continue to listen to this oxycontin, pill poppin, blow hole.

    March 13, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  24. bam

    President Obama has in place a more rigorous vetting process than his predecessors. Add to that the obstructionism of congressional Republicans and you get delayed appointments.

    March 13, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  25. Simmy

    "Me think you doth protest too much." Why is this a point of contention with CNN? No one else (but Fox) is worrying about it. I agree with ijoe. The "Blame President Obama" thread is wildly uncoiling through their organization. The stock markets are up and they don't mention President Obama. When they're down, they imply that it's PO's fault. They put John King, a very biased journalist on the air, and allow him to promote a Republican agenda. They are so transparent. (Jack is ok).

    March 13, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
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