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Harkin Statement on HELP Committee Approval of Thomas Perez to Serve as U.S. Secretary of Labor

WASHINGTON—Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement on the HELP Committee's approval of Thomas Perez’s nomination to serve as U.S. Secretary of Labor:

“Throughout his exemplary career, Thomas Perez has demonstrated his professionalism, his integrity, and his commitment to public service. At the Maryland Department of Labor, he skillfully built coalitions between workers and the business community. As the Senate author of the Americans with Disabilities Act, I have been particularly encouraged by Mr. Perez’s strong leadership on disability rights issues. These are just a few of the reasons why a bipartisan array of business leaders, elected officials, civil rights leaders, and worker advocates have stepped forward to endorse Mr. Perez’s nomination. 

“In his most recent role at the U.S. Department of Justice, Mr. Perez has fought for fairness and justice for all Americans through the vigorous enforcement of our civil rights laws. His strong track record and demonstrated leadership that has made him an excellent candidate to be our next Secretary of Labor has also drawn accusations and mudslinging. Having examined the facts about Mr. Perez’s record, I can assure this Committee he has the strongest possible record of professional integrity, and that any allegations to the contrary are unfounded. 

“Mr. Perez’s nomination has been before the Committee since March.  He has met with any Senator who has requested a meeting and answered more than 200 written questions for the record.  His opponents have failed to produce any evidence that calls into question his ability to fairly enforce the law as it is written, his professional integrity or moral character, or his ability to lead the Department of Labor. Both he and the Department of Justice have been extremely forthcoming about any concerns that have been raised about his leadership as head of the Civil Rights Division. 

“As our economy continues to recover, we need a dynamic leader at the helm of the Department of Labor who will embrace a bold vision of shared prosperity, and help make that vision a reality for American families. At his confirmation hearing, Mr. Perez clearly established that he is more than capable of undertaking this momentous task. I am pleased that the Committee has approved Mr. Perez’s nomination—and now the time has come for the full Senate to have an up-or-down vote on this nomination.”