President Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor, R. Alexander Acosta, enjoys measured, bi-partisan support going into his confirmation hearing Wednesday.
Acosta, a former U.S. attorney who also served on the National Labor Relations Board, is expected to be grilled be Senate Democrats on his views of minimum wage laws, overtime rules and other issues that were prioritized under the Obama administration.
Labor groups, including the powerful American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) have been noticeably quiet, and some have even offered support for the Republican.
AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka called Acosta a public servant with a, “record of enforcing the laws that he’s been put in charge of,” and praised the Florida attorney and Harvard law grad on numerous television hits. (RELATED: Top Union Boss Continues To Praise Trump’s New Labor Pick)
Acosta may face questions about a plea deal he oversaw for billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who pleaded guilty of soliciting prostitution in the state of Florida and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Acosta signed a non-prosecution deal with Epstein, explaining that he worked with the evidence he had at the time.
His hearing, which starts at 9:00 a.m. EST before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, comes the same week as Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court, FBI Director James Comey’s testimony to the House Committee on Intelligence and a dramatic health care vote slated for Thursday.
Trump selected Acosta after his initial choice, CKE Restaurant CEO Andy Puzder, withdrew his name from consideration after Senate Republicans informed the White House that they lacked the votes for confirmation. (RELATED: Puzder Withdraws Name From Consideration)
The campaign to thwart Acosta’s nomination has been noticeably subdued compared to the efforts waged against Puzder. (RELATED: Anti-Puzder Activists Sent Anthrax Scare To His Wife)
The 23 members of the Senate HELP committee will each have an opportunity to question Acosta on his record and plans for the department during the hearing.
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