A Senate Republican has placed an anonymous hold on President Barack Obama’s labor secretary nominee, blocking any immediate vote on the appointment of California Democratic Rep. Hilda Solis.
Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming, ranking Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has been outspoken in his criticism of Rep. Solis’ testimony in her confirmation hearing, focusing his criticism on her responses concerning the “card check” bill that would allow unions to bypass secret ballot elections in their attempts to win recognition as collective bargaining agents — a change which organized labor has made a high priority.
Asked Thursday whether he was satisfied with the answers given to date by Rep. Solis — who voted for the so-called Employee Free Choice Act in the House in 2007 — Sen. Enzi replied, “What answers? She doesn’t even recognize her own record when giving the answers.”
Rep. Solis is the daughter of a Teamster, who as a congresswoman has marched in a high-profile picket line at a grocery store in her California congressional district.
Barack Obama is the president, and presidents — especially new presidents trying to make a fresh start — are usually granted latitude in choosing their Cabinets.
If senators had found the labor secretary-designate to be incompetent or morally corrupt, that would be another matter. But the simple fact that the nominee is likely to champion the president’s political agenda is not sufficient reason to reject her. Rep. Solis should be confirmed.
That said, it’s reassuring to see Republicans ready to dig in and make a fight over this “card check” proposal.
President Obama has said repeatedly that fast action is needed to shore up a teetering economy. Frankly, much that has been proposed — blocking asset transfers from failed firms to new entrepreneurs more likely to create productive, long-term jobs, instead seizing more private wealth to fund government make-work boondoggles — is as unwise now as it was in 1933.
But in this economic climate, with each week producing a new empty parking lot with plywood on the windows, do the geniuses in Washington really mean to create a situation where business owners already struggling to stay afloat can without warning be handed their “last straw” — a stack of cards adorned with the message, “You’re now a union shop; here are our demands”?
It verges on lunacy.