Senate HELP Committee Hearing from Labor Nominee Today

The committee has set a hearing on March 22 on the nomination of Alexander Acosta, picked for secretary of Labor after President Trump’s initial nominee withdrew.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) has set a hearing starting at 9 a.m. EDT on March 22 on the nomination of Alexander Acosta, who was picked for secretary of Labor last month after President Trump's initial nominee, fast-food executive Andrew Puzder, withdrew.

Acosta has previously served as a member of the National Labor Relations Board and as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida. "Mr. Acosta's nomination is off to a good start," HELP Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said when the president nominated Acosta, "because he's already been confirmed by the Senate three times." He also praised the nominee's "impressive work and academic background."

Acosta is the dean of the Florida International University law school, and he earned his undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard.

On March 21, Democrats on the House Committee on Education and Workforce sent a letter to Alexander and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., ranking member on the HELP Committee, saying they want to know how Acosta will carry out DOL's mission to "foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners."

"During Mr. Acosta's upcoming confirmation hearing, we urge you to question Mr. Acosta about how he plans to accomplish the DOL's core functions," it says. "In particular, we urge you to ask Mr. Acosta about his views on key issues affecting workers and their families across the country, including enforcement of wage and hour, safety and health, and workplace nondiscrimination laws, the promotion of workforce training, and the administration of benefit programs over which the DOL has jurisdiction. Finally, we urge you to ask Mr. Acosta to explain the steps he will take to ensure that politicized hiring of career employees does not occur on his watch."

"As Secretary of Labor, Mr. Acosta will oversee the agencies and offices that protect workers' wages, help ensure workers and miners return home safely each day from their jobs, safeguard hard-earned retirement benefits, and ensure that injured longshore workers and coal miners receive timely workers' compensation benefits," they wrote. "We urge you to ask Mr. Acosta how he will accomplish the goals of achieving safe and healthy working conditions, stopping wage theft, ending discrimination, and ensuring employers meet their responsibilities in the administration of employee benefits, including group health plans. Furthermore, we urge you to ask Mr. Acosta what he will do to ensure that companies doing business with the federal government are educated about their obligations to their employees under our nation's workplace laws."

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