A day after the ranking Democrat, Patty Murray (D-Wa), of the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (the Labor Committee) promised to vote against the nomination of Alexander Acosta to serve as Secretary of Labor, the Labor Committee nevertheless favorably reported out the nomination of Acosta for consideration by the full senate. Acosta, the child of Cuban immigrants, is currently the dean of Florida International University’s law school and has served as an assistant attorney general for the Justice Department and as a U.S. Attorney in Florida. He has previously been confirmed by the Senate three times, including for his service as a Republican member of the National Labor Relations Board. Acosta would be the first Latino in President Trump’s cabinet.
In a statement issued on March 29, Senator Murray noted that while Acosta is a “very different” nominee than previous nominee Andrew Puzder, who she found to be “uniquely unqualified to serve as Secretary of Labor,” she expressed concern that, “Mr. Acosta deferred to the President and refused to take a strong stand on critical issues including expanding overtime pay to more workers, fighting for equal pay, and advocating for investments in job training and other key priorities of the Department of Labor.” While noting that the Labor Committee’s chairman, Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn), on the other hand, expressed approval of Acosta on March 30: “We are fortunate to have a presidential nominee for Labor Secretary who understands how a good-paying job is critical to helping workers realize the American dream for themselves and their families.” Senator Alexander’s full statement can be found here.
Though a date for the final confirmation vote has not been set, it is expected that Acosta will be confirmed by the Republican-majority Senate.