Republican nominees Andrea Lucas and Keith Sonderling were confirmed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in separate votes Tuesday, locking down GOP control of the workplace civil rights agency until at least mid-2022.
The Republican-controlled Senate voted 49-44 to confirm Lucas, a lawyer with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Washington, and later signed off on Sonderling, a Labor Department official, by a vote of 51-42.
Democratic nominee Jocelyn Samuels is slated for a confirmation vote Wednesday. If she is confirmed, it would provide the EEOC with its first full complement of commissioners during the Trump administration.
The confirmation of Lucas and Sonderling gives Republicans three members on the five-seat board until at least July 2022, regardless of the outcome of November’s presidential election. That could pay dividends for Republicans and the business lobby, as the agency considers changes to how it conciliates workplace discrimination allegations; whether it will collect workforce pay data in the future; and how it will approach regulations around company-sponsored wellness programs.
Republicans had held a 2-1 edge on the agency’s leadership panel since agency chair Janet Dhillon, a Republican, was confirmed in May 2019. Lucas will replace GOP commissioner Victoria Lipnic, who has been serving in a holdover capacity until a replacement could be confirmed.
Senate Majority Leader
Sonderling, deputy administrator of DOL’s Wage and Hour Division, waited the longest of the three to be confirmed to the agency’s leadership panel. He was originally nominated in July 2019, but his nomination expired at the end of the year without receiving a confirmation vote. The White House renominated him, along with Lucas and Samuels, in March.
—With assistance from Nancy Ognanovich