President Trump’s pick for Labor Secretary, Andrew F. Puzder, has withdrawn his name from consideration. Support for Puzder had eroded quickly over the last week.
To secure his appointment, Puzder needed at least 50 Senate votes plus a possible tie-breaking vote from Vice President Pence. Republicans control 52 seats in the Senate. Puzder withdrew from consideration when, by Wednesday morning, it was being reported that there were at least four firm no-votes coming out of the GOP, perhaps as many as 12.
It is still unclear who Trump’s replacement pick will be, but the timing of Puzder’s withdrawal will have implications for whoever takes his place. As we previously reported, a judge has entered an order temporarily enjoining the DOL from implementing the new overtime exemption rule that was set to go into effect on December 1, 2016. The DOL appealed the order to the Fifth Circuit, which granted an expedited briefing schedule. The DOL’s reply brief is due on March 2, 2017, but no hearing date has been set. It was expected that Puzder would be confirmed prior to either date, and that his appointment might affect the DOL’s position in the matter. His withdrawal likely means the briefing will be finalized, and perhaps the Fifth Circuit will have ruled, before a new Labor Secretary can weigh in.