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. jim carroll


    For only ½ of a trillion dollars, America could pay
    ten million unemployed workers $50,000 each for a year.
    This would solve the economic problem and would
    cost a lot less than giving a few trillion dollars to (tfb).
    It would be a good way to fund a Reserve-Retraining
    Work Force which would solve the problems
    of unemployment. Unemployed people ought to be
    paid a good living wage while they go back to school .

    March 13, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  2. Glennis

    Dreadful choice for Labor. The unions already have the Democrats in their pockets, now they have someone in their bully pulpit. Not good for the country.

    March 13, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. Matthew, Detroit

    Again, 57% and crashing by all reports.

    They guy needs to spend time on the economy and stop trying to

    shove the socialist agenda down America's throats.

    The problem is Banks, Credit, and Mortgages.

    But this clown and his circus are worried about, Abortion, Stemcells, Education (lousy teachers) Unions (lazy workers) Health Care, and everything else EXCEPT the economy.

    Put Barney Frank in jail and fix the mortgage crisis.

    March 13, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  4. dumbocrat alert

    good day for socialism..bad day for America.

    March 13, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  5. Get Well Soon GOP

    Matt your strained liver must be kicking in today. You are quite the poster!

    March 13, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. sorry,I dont get paid to post

    @Matt wherever hes really at.I think matt is a paid poster for right wing extremists.Notice hes on here 24/7.Thats just my opinion,and im entitled to it.

    March 13, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. Shooky

    How are they going to find 2 Democrats that pay their taxes?

    March 13, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. SC

    Better buy from Walmart now while prices are low. Won't be long till they have a union.

    March 13, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  9. Matthew, Detroit

    Barack made a mistake picking Rahm Emanuel

    Rahm made a mistake picking the staff.

    The White House Staff is a joke.

    Robert Gibbs Press Secretary is a baffoon.

    "The president is confident with the ability of the White House Staff to properly vett his candidates"

    hahahaha. What a joke. He has no confidence in the economy as he buries it in the ground, but he has confidence in his staff. Joke.

    March 13, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  10. demwit

    Hey Kevin haven't you heard!? The market isn't suppose to go up until next year!! Don't want to peak to soon..

    March 13, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  11. Jim From The OC

    Now bring on the "Employee Free Choice Act".....another piece of the Socialism puzzle that will bring American Businesses to their knees!!

    March 13, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  12. Matthew, Detroit

    Face the facts boys.

    You can blame republicans all you want but your party is imploding.

    You did not have a candidate for president for 8 years. No one even close. Gore was a joke and Kerry was good at marrying rich. No other candidates.

    Hillary will run against your current clown in 2012.

    Your party cant get anything done and they OWN the goverment.
    If you cant get things done and you can fix problems you will be voted out.

    Barack is an empty suit and he looks more and more lost.

    He is losing the support of the people and he lost the support of the Democrats in Congress.

    March 13, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  13. Matthew, Detroit

    No not a paid poster...

    Just someone that reads and delivers the facts.

    I get tired of reading things from people that are just untrue. No fact based to them. Usually speculation or the just repeat the hype that they are sold. I get tired of people who do not have any original thoughts.

    I also get tired of people who defend the auto union workers. I am sure there are many good workers, but if that is true than WHY do we build the worse built cars in the world. If we dont now WHY did we in the past. How come our workers get paid more and they build crap. How come the union protects these workers. How come I get paid the same when I work hard and do a good job, but the dummy next to me who is lazy or stupid does not get fired.

    The teachers unions have the same problems. We pay for welfare. We pay people to be lazy. We pay women to have children out of wedlock. We make excuses for why people fail.

    March 13, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
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