Three Senate Democrats joined with their Republican colleagues Wednesday night to sink President Joe Biden’s nominee to head the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division.
Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, Joe Manchin, and Mark Kelly used a procedural vote to sink David Weil’s nomination.
The final vote count was 47-5.
Weil served in the role during the Obama administration from 2014 to 2017 making the decision by the Democrat Senators to block him surprising.
But Weil is under fire for promoting policies that some argued hurt small businesses like pushing to classify independent contractors as employees.
Manchin said simple voting for Weil “was too much of a risk to take” because his “previous statements are problematic for many West Virginia employees and business owners.”
Sinema’s spokesperson said:
“As she promised Arizonans, Kyrsten evaluates all nominees based on three criteria: whether or not they are professionally qualified, believe in the missions of their agencies, and can be trusted to faithfully execute and uphold the law.
“Upon reviewing Mr. Weil’s nomination, she has concerns with his ability to faithfully execute and uphold the law.”
A White House spokesman said:
“Confirming his nomination would be good for workers.
“We’ll continue to evaluate this nomination and how we move forward, but remain proud of the administration’s pro-worker policies and work being done.”
Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington said:
“I’m incredibly disappointed to see Dr. Weil, an exceptionally qualified nominee with a long track record fighting to ensure workers get the wages they have earned, did not get the votes tonight to be confirmed as Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor.
“Despite this outcome, I will never stop fighting for working families and for a fully staffed DOL with leaders committed to protecting workers.”
Dems knew that Biden’s Wage and Hour nominee David Weil, who had the job under Obama, would be a hard sell: It took two votes just to get him out of committee.
But no one thought he’d be voted down on the Senate floor.
How we got here, with @NickNiedz: https://t.co/YHuDDFFeh1
— Eleanor Mueller (@eleanor_mueller) March 31, 2022
Manchin on why he opposes Biden Labor nominee David Weil: “too much of a risk to take” for West Virginia’s small businesses. https://t.co/QkvpdTnjUI
— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) March 31, 2022
The vote is a big defeat for the Biden administration, which frequently touts its labor agenda, and for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who lined up Weil’s nomination Monday night no doubt anticipating that the Obama alum had the backing necessary.
Manchin was undecided and still reviewing the matter as late as Wednesday, a person familiar with his thinking said. Sinema played a key role in swaying him and Kelly to vote no, two other people familiar with the conversations said.