On Wednesday, February 15, Andrew Puzder, President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Department of Labor, withdrew his name from consideration for the post. The withdrawal came after Senate Republicans had balked at supporting Puzder, based in part on his past employment of an undocumented immigrant as his housekeeper. Puzder had acknowledged that he failed to pay taxes on the housekeeper until after Trump had nominated him, which was five years after her employment had ended.
Puzder’s withdrawal will likely delay the DOL’s response to President Trump’s Memorandum of February 3, which directed the DOL to reexamine the DOL Fiduciary Duty Rule and rescind or revise the Rule as appropriate. (Our previous post on that Memorandum is here).
The DOL already filed a Notice with the Office of Management and Budget, on February 9, to delay the April 10 implementation date of the Rule. The Notice did not specify the length of the delay sought by the DOL, but it has been widely predicted that the DOL will seek an additional 180 days.
Speculation is already underway regarding Puzder’s replacement. Names that had been on President Trump’s shortlist for the DOL post have begun recirculating, including Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Other potential nominees are said to include former National Labor Relations Board members Peter Kirsanow and Alexander Acosta; former South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Director Catherine Templeton; and Joseph Guzman, an assistant professor of labor relations at Michigan State University.
Whoever replaces Puzder as nominee will likely harbor the same skepticism toward broad federal regulation as President Trump, and the ultimate fate of the DOL Fiduciary Duty Rule therefore remains uncertain.