U.S. Solicitor of Labor nominee Tricia Smith

Solicitor, FDA Nominees Set for Thursday Hearings

The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee is scheduled to hold confirmation hearings Thursday for three important nominees: M. Patricia Smith for solicitor of Labor; Seth Harris as deputy Labor secretary; and Margaret Hamburg as FDA commissioner. A joint hearing about nominees Smith and Harris has a scheduled 10 a.m. Eastern start, while the Hamburg hearing is set for 2 p.m.

Hamburg's hearing was moved up from May 12 because of the H1N1 flu outbreak, The Wall Street Journal reported. Hamburg possesses expertise in bioterrorism and pandemics; she was New York City's health commissioner from 1991 to 1997 but was working as a senior scientist for the Nuclear Threat Initiative when President Obama nominated her in March.

"Tricia" Smith is commissioner of the New York State Department of Labor, where she's had success in wage discrimination and sweatshop cases.

If confirmed, Harris will be the Labor Department's second in command, after Secretary Hilda Solis. He (1990) and Smith (1977) both received their law degrees from the New York University School of Law, and Harris was a professor there and director of the school's Labor and Employment Law Program when he became a member of Obama's transition team.

Visit this page to see a webcast of the Smith hearing.

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