Three Biden administration labor and employment nominees—including picks for top attorney at the National Labor Relations Board and U.S. Labor Department—can be considered by the full Senate following votes by the chamber’s labor panel on Wednesday, the committee announced.
The selection that drew the most controversy, Jennifer Abruzzo for NLRB general counsel, will be eligible for a vote by the full chamber after an 11-11 tie in committee that broke down along party lines. If Abruzzo prevails in that vote to discharge her nomination from committee, Majority Leader
Republicans hounded Abruzzo at her April 29 confirmation hearing over President
The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee also signed off on Seema Nanda to serve as solicitor of labor, DOL’s No. 3 overall position, and Jocelyn Samuels for a new term on the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Both of those votes were 14-8.
At Abruzzo’s confirmation hearing last month, Senate HELP ranking member
Abruzzo conceded that she dealt with NLRB policy directly as part of the 25-person team, but initially said she had “no involvement” in the decision to fire Robb. She later acknowledged that she and others determined that concerns outside groups had raised over Robb’s “operational management” needed to be “elevated.”
It wasn’t immediately clear when the full Senate would vote on whether to discharge Abruzzo’s nomination from committee, a process necessitated by the divided Senate, where Democrats hold a tie-breaking vote in the person of Vice President
Timing on when Nanda and Samuels will advance to a Senate floor vote also wasn’t clear.
Nanda previously was deputy labor solicitor and DOL chief of staff in the Obama administration for then-Labor Secretary
Samuels, a Democrat, already serves on the EEOC, after being confirmed last year. She has been nominated for a new, five-year term.
Biden’s Inauguration Day termination of Robb will continue to cast a shadow over Abruzzo, even if she’s confirmed.
The concerted GOP opposition she’s faced comes amid an unresolved legal debate over the legitimacy of Robb’s ouster.
Republicans argue that the independent labor board should be walled off from political interference, leading to claims that the current acting NLRB legal chief
The labor board last month declined to rule on those claims, saying federal courts are responsible for answering such questions.
Legal tests into the validity of decisions from Robb’s successor will likely continue to flow into the board if Abruzzo assumes the general counsel post.