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Julie Su of the U.S. Department of Labor

Regulation and Compliance > Federal Regulation > DOL

New Bill Would Force Vote on Acting Labor Secretary’s Nomination

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What You Need to Know

  • Sen. Cassidy maintains that the Biden administration is attempting to circumvent Congress and the Constitution to keep Julie Su as acting secretary indefinitely.
  • The proposed bill would prevent Su and future nominees from serving longer than 210 days without confirmation.

Legislation introduced late Wednesday would set a time limit of 210 days for Cabinet appointees to serve without Senate confirmation.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., said he introduced the bill, the Advice and Consent Act, to prevent the executive branch from circumventing Congress’ constitutional duty to confirm the secretary of Labor who, he argued, does not have the votes to be confirmed.

Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su’s nomination “has lasted for 176 days, the longest a cabinet-level nominee has waited for a floor vote when the same party controls the White House and the Senate,” Cassidy said in a statement.

The Advice and Consent Act “prevents further political abuses of the Constitution and ensures all nominees for Secretary of Labor receive the full advice and consent of the Senate,” said Cassidy, ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

Su is serving as acting Labor secretary under the department’s succession statute, “which the Biden administration claims allows her to serve as Acting Secretary in perpetuity even if she does not have votes for Senate confirmation,” Cassidy continued.

In contrast, Cassidy said, “the Federal Vacancies Reform Act creates ‘a clear and exclusive process to govern the performance of duties of offices in the Executive Branch’ and sets a time limit of 210 days that an individual can perform the role of a cabinet-level position” without Senate confirmation.

The legislation “reins in the DOL succession statute and would prevent Ms. Su and future Secretary of Labor nominees from serving in an Acting Secretary capacity past 210 days, the normal standard for all cabinet-level nominees under Federal Vacancies Reform Act,” Cassidy maintains.

On March 21, according to Cassidy, “Biden’s Labor Department transmitted a submission to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) stating that Su is serving as Acting Secretary of Labor, not under the Vacancies Act, but under 29 U.S.C. § 552, a DOL-specific succession statute, which allows the Deputy Secretary to perform the duties of the Secretary of Labor.”

Since the DOL succession statute “does not have a time limit, DOL’s decision to use its authority under 29 U.S.C. § 552 is an attempt to protect Su’s ability to potentially serve as Acting Secretary in perpetuity, even if she is unable to secure the votes required for Senate confirmation,” Cassidy said.

The GOP has criticized Su for her work on Assembly Bill 5 as the former head of California’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. The controversial bill “removed the flexibility of individuals to work as independent contractors,” Cassidy has said.

Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su. Photo: U.S. Department of Labor


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