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Manchin Torpedoing Great Secretary of Labor Nominee

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Like many, many labor people, I was hoping for Julie Su as Secretary of Labor when Biden took office. He went with Marty Walsh instead. Walsh did a perfectly fine job before leaving to head the NHLPA. Good for the hockey players. So Biden nominated Su this time. But the gig companies loathe Su. And that means that the centrist core of Democrats, those holdouts who still don’t understand or care how important labor is to building a long-lasting Democratic coalition, are determined to deny her the job. Joe Manchin, outside of being extra special annoying this year with his No Labels bullshit, has announced his opposition. And Biden is pissed.

The Biden administration is calling out Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin over the nomination of Julie Su, a dramatic escalation in an effort to confirm a Secretary of Labor that has been stalled on Capitol Hill since February.

A White House official on Thursday said President Joe Biden would continue to fight for Su’s confirmation, calling his support for her “unwavering. “We hope,” the official added, “Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema reconsider their position.”

The official’s comments came just minutes after Manchin said he would oppose Su’s nomination. The West Virginia Democrat touted Su’s credentials as “impressive” but said he ultimately decided to vote against her over a “genuine concern” regarding ideology.

Sinema has been publicly undeclared, though the official’s comments suggest that the Arizona Independent has signaled to the White House that she has reservations about the nominee. Sinema does not generally forecast her votes. A spokesperson declined to comment.

With Republicans expected to be universally opposed to Su’s confirmation, she can only lose one person from the Democratic caucus and still win confirmation. No Republicans are expected to support her nomination.

“President Biden and his team continue fighting for Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su’s confirmation — because she is highly-qualified, experienced, and has proven herself time and time again when it comes to delivering for America’s workers and our economy,” the White House official said.

Su is currently the acting Labor secretary and is getting strong support from most of the Democratic Party. But Manchin, who is weighing a reelection run in his red state, has been voting against a steadily increasing number of President Joe Biden’s nominees.

I doubt Manchin gives a shit and we know Sinema doesn’t. There are other good choices out there–Sara Nelson would be amazing and was floated by the administration after Walsh stepped away but I don’t know that Manchin would vote for her either. Andy Levin has also been floated and he’s great too, but given that AIPAC declared a jihad against him while he was in Congress for not being pro-Israel enough, despite being Jewish himself, that might make the centrists cry too. So it’s a tough thing when the vast majority of your coalition (unlike Obama, Clinton, or Carter ever understood) now understands how critical organized labor is for working class votes, but you have a ridiculous institution that gives very stupid people the ability to hold up the actions of government. World’s greatest deliberative body, baby!

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