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. the idiot

    obama-mama@ with another stupid post. This is the democratic revenge for Wal-Mart not buckling under and going the way of the auto companies and the airlines. It is part of the liberal plan for the government to own and operate all business, destroy any incentive for achieving the American dream unless you are a paying member of "the party." There is a name for it, they did it in Russia for about 60 years/

    March 13, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  2. alvino


    The former president borrowed from the Saudis and China to finance his economic and war agenda. He was the one who increased the size of government and the national debt, putting our grandchildren's future on the line.

    Obama is trying to fix the last 8 years.

    March 13, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  3. dont drop the soap Limbaugh

    Card check is good for all American workers,thats why companies hate it .The slave states hate it and so do the big box chains.Squirm you company scabs.

    March 13, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  4. Typical White Person

    @ Linda in MS March 13th, 2009 10:55 am ET

    It does look like Wall Street is holding America hostage until they get whatever they want, and what that is I don't know.

    They want to know what Obama is going to do before they (money managers) start pouring money back into the stock market.

    Until they know the rules they are not going to put more money into the market. And until they are re@ssured that the rules won't change in the middle of the game they are not going to put their money into the market.

    Until the money managers, the people you hire to invest your retirement and college funds, have confidence in Obama they are not going to put your (our) money in anything that isn't a good risk.

    You all need to make up your minds. First you demonized Wall Street for investing your retirement and college funds (the largest percentage of investments) in the market to maximize your returns and growth, and now you are demonizing them for NOT investing in the market. If you knew half as much as you think you do about investing you would not be surprised by the downturn nor would you be surprised by the slowness of the turnaround.

    But CNN moderators won't post this because it goes against their policy that anyone posting a disagreement with the moonbats must have at least 10 spelling and gramar errors...

    March 13, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  5. Kevin in Ohio

    I refuse to buy a car from Detroit as long as the UAW is there. And I will stop going to Walmart once the Union forces its way in. That's simply because better products at lower prices will be available elsewhere. That's the free market, liberals.

    March 13, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  6. constantly amazed

    Super secret speeches at luxury resorts by Joe "the Gaffer" Biden to this labor leaders. EFCA legislation introduced again in the Congress with the Obama administrations support. This sounds as bad as the campaign against Limbaugh, conducted by the White House, using employees paid by CNN (Carville & Begala). Do you think there is a chance we will be getting straight or objective stories through CNN?

    March 13, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  7. Objective thinking

    alvino – Bush already instituted tax cuts for everyone last year, too. He gets no credit for that, yet Obama gets credit for doing it this year? I got $600 from Bush last year. This year Obama is going to give $500, so if amount is an issue, Bush still deserves credit there.

    March 13, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  8. E

    If he chooses too fast then he isn't vetting enough, if he chooses too slow then he isn't doing his job. He can't win. The GOP has made sure that no matter what he does it will have a negative spin.

    March 13, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  9. liz

    Hey Mervin, Has Sarah Palin paid her back taxes yet?!?!

    March 13, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  10. RealityKing

    Those who reported Obama's vetting process as "the best ever" really look like idiots now don't they..

    March 13, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  11. walleye

    TO Kevin in Ohio. I remember growing up in NYC. Whenever a space craft was launched back in the 60's it would rain like crazy for several days. Everyone blamed the space launch for the rain because they did not know any better. Go ahead and blame the market whenever Obama speaks. It has nothing to do with him. What will affect the market ( and maybe the last 3 days have shown this) are the policys he is trying to implement to get us out of the economic mess Pres W has put us in.

    March 13, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  12. James

    Lisa T Do you understand the difference between a "budget surplus" and the "national debt"... How can the president inherit a "budget deficit" when the budget is planned on a yearly basis?
    All Obama has done is to GREATLY INCREASE the deficit spending on his watch and in three years he will add more to the National Debt than Bush did in all eight years.. Clinton and the Repubs who controlled congress where fiscal conservatives and they worked together to balance the budget but they even added to the deficit.

    March 13, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  13. flybyshoeing

    Terry, TX

    Your entire comment is a lie, all of it. You are either missinformed or purposely trying to missinform others. Don't you have a Chuck Norris rally to attend?

    March 13, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  14. demwit

    Labor needs a spending package! Where's Nancy!!

    March 13, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  15. Watchful Eye

    his is sad wheeeen Arlington Texas us Stimulus Money to doWhat?

    CW Ditto Golf Course Renovations Arlington TX 30 $6,000,000
    CDBG -878

    Please Fire the Mayor and the Govenor and City Council members..

    March 13, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  16. gl, Pittsburgh

    IJOE – I agree! I don't hear CNN giving President Obama credit for the marketing going down. CNN is a joke!

    March 13, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  17. Sad truth

    A few more appointments and there will be enough Democrats paying their back taxes to pay off the federal budget... I think that is Obama's plan to cut the budget in half by 2012.

    March 13, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  18. dont drop the soap Limbaugh

    Your 401k is gambling at its finest,you may as well go to a casino.When it gets too much in it they will rob you again.

    March 13, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  19. James

    Fear=saving your money= less consumption=less production = layoffs =less money = more fear = more savings= even less consumption and around and around we go! It is certain that the housing market collapse is the major player in this crises but Obama and his fear mongering is helping to damage the confidence of consumers and investors!

    I don’t blame Obama for all of his mistakes he has very little executive experience and it shows. Great politician poor leadership.

    March 13, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  20. Mike Syracuse, NY

    @Mari: "As usual you are the typical offensive conservative! This is the problem with the far-right-rhetoric, you paint ALL LIBERALS with the same broad brush!"

    You don't think 'typical offensive conservative' isn't painting all conservatives with the same brush? How hypocritical can you get?

    March 13, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  21. Kevin in Ohio

    Fascinating..... CNN just posted a headline "Obama Aid says we are facing an economic avalanche"..... the market dropped 80 points within a half hour. I rest my case.

    March 13, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  22. Rick

    And another clown joins the Barnum & Bailey Administration.

    March 13, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  23. Sniffit

    @ Matthew, Detroit, who said "Office of Management and Budget Vivek Kundra just took a "leave of absence" while the FBI continues the search of his offices."

    The FBI also continues to state that he is not a subject of the investigation. Liar.

    March 13, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  24. Matthew, Detroit

    The biggest and fastest slide of any presidents popularity of all time.

    Barack and his circus now stand at 57%.

    He is 50 days in and the guy is crashing and failing under his own

    mistakes. He has caused damage and is making the country worse

    off on a daily basis. He failed with the automotive and he has failed

    with the banks. He has not solved the morgage problem. He is

    wasting time on everything except for the economy and fixing it.


    March 13, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  25. Matthew, Detroit

    Robert Gibbs in his daily press conference.

    "The President is very confident with the vetting process"


    They dont even know how bad they are.

    March 13, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
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