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HELP Committee Holds Hearing on 4 Well-Qualified Nominees for Positions at the Education and Labor Departments

Chairman Alexander says two nominees will serve as important leaders at the Education Department, others will work to fix Obama administration overtime and fiduciary rules and protect workers participating in pension plans

WASHINGTON, November 15, 2017 — Today, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee held a confirmation hearing on four of the President’s nominees for positions at the Department of Education and the Department of Labor. 

For the Education Department, Brigadier General Mitchel Zais is nominated to serve as Deputy Secretary and James Blew is nominated to serve as Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development. For the Labor Department, Kate O’Scannlain is nominated to serve as Solicitor and Preston Rutledge is nominated to serve as Assistant Secretary for the Employee Benefits Security Administration at the Department of Labor.

On General Zais, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said: “The Deputy Secretary of Education is an important position, and General Zais has an excellent and deep background for it. He has been the chief state superintendent of South Carolina’s public schools, spent 10 years as a college president, was a member of South Carolina’s Commission on Higher Education, and after 31 years in the U.S. Army, he retired as a Brigadier General.”

On Mr. Blew, Alexander said: “For 20 years, Mr. Blew has advocated for improving educational opportunities for families and children by overseeing grants to low-income, high-risk schools. This experience makes him well qualified for the position he is nominated for, where he will be responsible for helping develop policies and manage the budget at the Department of Education, and ensure that programs are working as intended.”

On Ms. O’Scannlain, Alexander said: “As solicitor at the Labor Department, Ms. O’Scannlain will be involved in every area of the department’s work – including developing regulations. The Department is currently reviewing two Obama administration rules that Ms. O’Scannlain will play a role in fixing -- the ‘time-card,’ or overtime, rule and the fiduciary rule.”

On Mr. Rutledge, Alexander said: “As Assistant Secretary for the Employee Benefits Security Administration, Mr. Rutledge will help protect the interests of American workers participating in employee pension and welfare benefit plans. Mr. Rutledge is well quailed for this position, having worked as tax and benefits counsel to the Senate Finance Committee and in private practice as an employee benefits counselor.”

Alexander’s full remarks here.