Harkin Statement on Senate Approval of Thomas Perez to Serve as Secretary of Labor

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement today after the Senate approved the nomination of Thomas Perez to serve as U.S. Secretary of Labor. The HELP Committee held a hearing for Perez in April and favorably reported his nomination in May.

“Without question, Tom Perez has the knowledge and experience needed to guide the U.S. Department of Labor.  Through his professional experiences—and especially his work as Secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation—he has developed strong policy expertise about the many important issues for American workers and businesses that come before DOL each day. 

“As the Senate author of the Americans with Disabilities Act, I have been particularly impressed by Mr. Perez’s record of strong leadership on disability rights issues. From his time as head of the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services in the Clinton Administration, and continuing through to this day in his role as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the Justice Department, he has helped ensure that people with disabilities have the choice to live in their own homes and communities— rather than only in institutional settings—and to receive supports and services to make this possible.  Indeed, throughout his career Mr. Perez has fought to enforce all of our most critical civil rights laws and has worked to safeguard the rights of every American.

“I am pleased that the Senate has recognized that Mr. Perez will be an asset to the Department of Labor and to our country by confirming him to this important post, and I welcome the opportunity to continue working with him in his new position.”