09.24.19

Murray Votes NO on Advancing Scalia Out of Committee: “He Will Be a Secretary of Corporate Interests, Not a Secretary of Labor”

 

At Senate HELP Committee markup, Senator Murray reiterates that Trump’s labor nominee is the wrong choice for workers

 

Vote comes after confirmation hearing where Scalia avoided supporting policies designed to protect workers, defended work for corporate clients undermining worker rights

 

Murray: “Unfortunately, last week’s hearing confirmed my worst fears: that Mr. Scalia will be a yes-man for President Trump’s anti-worker agenda, not a champion for working families, that he will let companies off the hook, not hold them accountable, that if confirmed, he will be a Secretary of Corporate Interests, not a Secretary of Labor.”

 

***Watch Senator Murray’s Remarks HERE***

 

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), voted “no” on advancing Eugene Scalia’s nomination for Secretary of Labor to a full vote by the Senate. Senator Murray was joined in opposition by every one of her fellow Democrats.

 

Senator Murray has repeatedly urged Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chairman of the HELP Committee, for more time to fully vet Scalia and allow Senators to review Scalia’s lengthy and problematic record as an elite corporate lawyer fighting against workers’ rights. Since Scalia’s nomination was announced, Senator Murray has criticized his crusade against health and safety protections, efforts to roll back whistleblower protections, attacks on landmark protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act, his lawsuit to strike down a crucial rule protecting workers’ retirement savings, his willingness to help companies get away with workplace harassment, and more. Senator Murray also voiced her concerns regarding Scalia’s confirmation hearing last week, where he dodged multiple opportunities to stand for workers’ rights and zealously defended his record as an elite corporate lawyer.

 

Key excerpts of Senator Murray’s speech:

 

“Unfortunately, last week’s hearing confirmed my worst fears: that Mr. Scalia will be a yes-man for President Trump’s anti-worker agenda, not a champion for working families, that he will let companies off the hook, not hold them accountable, that if confirmed, he will be a Secretary of Corporate Interests, not a Secretary of Labor.”

“Time and again in last week’s hearing, I asked Mr. Scalia to take a stand for working families… And even while Mr. Scalia dodged seemingly every opportunity to take a strong stand as a champion for the workers and families the Department of Labor serves, he didn’t shy away from defending his record helping corporate clients hack away at the rules meant to protect workers and families or hesitate to praise President Trump and the so-called ‘virtually unprecedented benefits’ workers are seeing under this Administration’s anti-worker agenda.”

“…he has fought against workers seeking the wages they were cheated out of, people with disabilities seeking a job opportunity, employees seeking a safer work environment, families seeking reliable advice as they plan for retirement, and even survivors seeking justice for workplace harassment and assault. In other words—the very people we need the Secretary of Labor to fight for.”

 

“This long, alarming record, is exactly why I’ve opposed Mr. Scalia’s nomination from the start. And if we learned anything last week—it’s that I was right to be concerned—Mr. Scalia would be a Secretary of Corporate Interests, not a Secretary of Labor.”

 

“I hope everyone who claims to care about working families will think long and hard about how hollow those claims will ring if they support this nominee who has repeatedly sided with corporations over people.”

 

Full text of Sen. Murray’s speech below:

 

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I’m disappointed we have continued to rush through this confirmation process, despite my request for more time to carefully and thoroughly vet this nominee.

 

“I have repeatedly made clear that members have not been given enough time to review Mr. Scalia’s background in a way that is truly complete or sufficient for such an important role.

 

“Workers and families across the country are counting on us to take our vetting responsibility seriously—especially since President Trump obviously won’t.

 

“I’ve been clear that Mr. Scalia’s career as an elite corporate attorney prepares him to be the exact opposite of what workers need in a Secretary of Labor. Because someone who has so consistently defended big corporations instead of workers on issues as critical as wage theft, workplace harassment, and discrimination just doesn’t have the perspective that workers and families really need from someone in this role.

 

“This is yet another example of the Administration’s efforts to trample on workers’ rights and protections despite the President’s promises to put workers first.

 

“Unfortunately, last week’s hearing confirmed my worst fears: that Mr. Scalia will be a yes-man for President Trump’s anti-worker agenda, not a champion for working families, that he will let companies off the hook, not hold them accountable, that if confirmed, he will be a Secretary of Corporate Interests, not a Secretary of Labor.

 

“Time and again in last week’s hearing, I asked Mr. Scalia to take a stand for working families.”

“I asked Mr. Scalia if he would commit to supporting Democrats efforts to raise the minimum wage. He would not.  He dodged and made clear he would defer to President Trump and Congressional Republicans who continue to block our efforts.

 

“I asked Mr. Scalia if he supported passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act. He would not give a clear answer.

 

“I asked if he would commit to ending the President’s wage theft ‘amnesty’ program, preserving overtime protections for millions of workers, and abandoning the President’s joint employer rule which would undermine important protections for workers. He evaded the questions and did not make a clear commitment on any account.

 

“I asked Mr. Scalia whether he would agree that existing laws are too weak to address the epidemic of workplace harassment. He would not agree, and avoided committing to pushing for steps to strengthen our laws—like my Be HEARD Act which would help prevent workplace harassment, and empower workers when they are harassed.

 

“And even while Mr. Scalia dodged seemingly every opportunity to take a strong stand as a champion for the workers and families the Department of Labor serves, he didn’t shy away from defending his record helping corporate clients hack away at the rules meant to protect workers and families or hesitate to praise President Trump and the so-called ‘virtually unprecedented benefits’ workers are seeing under this Administration’s anti-worker agenda.

 

“Now, I don’t think many workers would describe President Trump’s attempts to cut funding for job training, strip workers of overtime pay, or rollback rules to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses, as ‘virtually unprecedented benefits.’

 

“As President Trump does everything he can to undermine workers’ rights, we need a Secretary who won’t be a yes-man for those efforts, but will fight for workers instead. Unfortunately, nothing from our hearing last week suggests Mr. Scalia will do that.

 

“In fact, everything about his record would indicate otherwise. Throughout his career, he has fought for massive corporations that were, stealing workers’ wages, undermining health and safety protections, discriminating against people, retaliating against whistleblowers, and avoiding accountability for workplace harassment.

 

“And he has fought against workers seeking the wages they were cheated out of, people with disabilities seeking a job opportunity, employees seeking a safer work environment, families seeking reliable advice as they plan for retirement, and even survivors seeking justice for workplace harassment and assault. In other words—the very people we need the Secretary of Labor to fight for.

 

“This long, alarming record, is exactly why I’ve opposed Mr. Scalia’s nomination from the start. And if we learned anything last week—it’s that I was right to be concerned—Mr. Scalia would be a Secretary of Corporate Interests, not a Secretary of Labor.

 

“Mr. Chairman, the last thing we need is one more person in this Administration using their power to look out for those at the top and no one else.  I continue to strongly oppose his nomination. And I urge all my colleagues to do the same.

 

“I hope everyone who claims to care about working families will think long and hard about how hollow those claims will ring if they support this nominee who has repeatedly sided with corporations over people.

 

“Thank you.”

 

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