US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

S.2141, Sunscreen Innovation Act; H.R.4366, Strengthening Education through Research Act; and the Nomination of Sharon Block to serve as a Member of the National Labor Relations Board

Alexander to Vote Against Confirmation of President Obama’s Labor Secretary

Says he “supports any president’s right to have an up-or-down vote on his cabinet nominees—never in our nation’s history has the Senate used a filibuster to block a cabinet official from taking his or her seat”

Wednesday, July 17, 2013Liz Wolgemuth 202-228-4729

WASHINGTON, July 17—The senior Republican on the U.S. Senate committee on labor policy said today that he would vote against confirmation of President Obama’s nominee for U.S. Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said: “Mr. Perez’s involvement in a quid pro quo arrangement between the Department of Justice and the city of St. Paul seems to me an extraordinary amount of wheeling and dealing outside the normal responsibilities of the Assistant Attorney General over the Civil Rights Division. To obtain his desired results, Mr. Perez reached outside of his civil rights division at the Department of Justice into Minnesota’s U.S. Attorney’s office and into the Department of Housing and Development. This exchange cost American taxpayers the opportunity to potentially recover millions of dollars, and, more importantly, violated the trust whistleblowers place in the federal government. This testimony has been contradicted by the testimony of other witnesses in contemporaneous documents.”

Alexander continued: “Mr. Perez did not discharge the duty he owed to the government to try to collect the money owed to taxpayers. He did not discharge the duty to protect the whistleblowers who were left hanging in the wind. And at the same time he was manipulating the legal process to remove a case from the Supreme Court in a way that is inappropriate for the Assistant Attorney General of the United States.” 

Alexander added: I voted to limit debate on the nominee for labor secretary because I believe any president deserves an up-or-down vote on his cabinet officials, and never in our nation’s history has the Senate used a filibuster to block a cabinet official from taking his or her seat.”

At a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee meeting May 16, Alexander voted to oppose moving the nomination of Thomas Perez out of committee and to the Senate floor.

Alexander said then: “My view of his record raises troubling questions about his actions while at the Department of Justice and his candor in discussing his actions with this committee.”

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