President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of labor, R. Alexander Acosta, will face a Senate Committee vote Thursday to advance his nomination to the Senate floor.
The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) will convene Thursday morning, where it is expected to approve Acosta’s nomination out of Committee.
Overshadowed by Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court, FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee and the dramatic health care debate, Acosta’s confirmation hearing took place to little fanfare Wednesday morning inside the bowels of the United States Senate. (RELATED: Defending Obama’s Legacy, Senate Democrats Grill Acosta)
The former U.S. Attorney and outgoing Dean of the Florida International University College of Law is expected to pass out of committee with little problem. Senate Democrats, meanwhile, went on the offensive in order to defend former President Barack Obama’s labor policies.
From President Trump’s order to re-examine Obama’s proposed fiduciary rules to the president’s budget, which slashes the Department of Labor’s funding by 21 percent, Democrat Senators tried to glean answers from Acosta.
Acosta, who also served on the National Labor Relations Board under former President George W. Bush, was steadfast in his refusal to dig deep into his personal opinions of the policies and issues the Democrats raised.
Virginia Democratic Senator and failed 2016 Vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine asked Acosta about a non-prosecution deal he made with billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who pleaded guilty for soliciting prostitution in the state of Florida and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
“Based on the evidence, professionals within the prosecutor’s office decide that a plea that guarantees that someone goes to jail, that guarantees that someone register generally, and that guarantees other outcomes, is a good thing,” Acosta said, while refusing to discuss specifics of the case.
Acosta has face mild opposition compared to Trump’s original choice to lead the Department of Labor, CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder. The fast food magnate withdrew his name from consideration after Senate Republicans told the White House that they did not have the votes for confirmation. (RELATED: Anti-Puzder Activists Sent An Anthrax Scare To His Wife)
If the Committee votes to pass Acosta’s nomination, a full vote before the Senate would be scheduled for confirmation.
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