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Tipsheet

Key Democrats Still Won't Commit to Supporting Embattled Biden Nominee

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

The saga of Secretary of Labor nominee Julie Su continues, with this latest update once again having to do with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). The vulnerable Democrat, who may or may not run for reelection in 2024, has been undecided on whether he'll vote to confirm the nominee. He has been trying to meet with her and will reportedly be doing so on Wednesday.

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If the experience of fellow vulnerable incumbent Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) is any indication, though, it doesn't mean that Manchin will make up his mind one way or the other. As CNN's Manu Raju noted, Tester and Sinema have met with Su but have not indicated whether they support her or not.

Su passed out of the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) last week along partisan lines, despite a particularly brutal confirmation hearing the week prior. 

Beyond her poor performance under pressure, concerns surrounding Su's ability to serve in this role, as highlighted by a coalition known as Stand Against Su, include her role in California's unemployment insurance fraud and the resulting higher taxes; her support for California's AB 5 which forces independent contractors and freelancers to be treated as full-time workers; her wanting to eliminate the tipped minimum wage; her stance on border security; and how her "hatred of capitalism is evident in her anti-business rhetoric and record[.]"

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The coalition also tweeted out a damning report from the Washington Free Beacon throwing Su's nomination into even further jeopardy. The American Accountability Foundation had asked the Labor Department last month for correspondence between Su and powerful unions, but the agency missed its deadline. 

That has been something of a habit of the Biden administration, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI are now being sued for failing to honor FOIA requests submitted by CatholicVote looking into records showing that the FBI was targeting Catholics. 

Su, who previously served as the Secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, is also facing strong opposition from California Republicans, including Rep. Kevin Kiley and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

She currently serves as the acting secretary following former Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh's departure, for whom she served as his deputy. If Su does not strike any particular confidence in Manchin during Wednesday's meeting, it's worth noting that he previously indicated to NBC News that he supported Walsh because he liked Walsh. 

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From the NBC News report:

Manchin said he was open to a vote on Su and open to meeting with her. But he made it clear that his comfort with Walsh at the top of the Labor Department was part of why he supported Su as his deputy.

“I had Marty Walsh,” Manchin said when asked about his vote for Su as deputy. He added that he wants someone like Walsh in the job going forward: “I had Marty Walsh and I am looking for a Marty Walsh.”

Especially when it comes to President Joe Biden's emphasis on "equity" and his desire to nominate people based on their sex and race, that his cabinet has yet to have an Asian-American hold any role has been particularly felt.  

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