Biden DOL nominee stalled in Senate

Dive Brief:

  • The U.S. Senate on Tuesday failed to advance President Joe Biden’s pick to head the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA). In a 44-51 vote, legislators rejected invoking cloture on Democrat José Javier Rodríguez, effectively stalling the nomination. 
  • Biden first nominated the former Florida state representative and state senator as assistant secretary in 2021 and renominated him in January after Rodríguez failed to advance. 
  • The vote was split along party lines, except for two Democrats — Sens. Joe Manchin, W.Va., and Bob Menendez, N.J. — who voted against the nomination. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., reversed his vote, changing it to no, to enable him to call for another vote.

Dive Insight:

The ETA oversees federal job training and worker dislocation programs, unemployment benefits and federal grants for state public employment service programs, per the DOL. 

Rodríguez is an attorney and partner at Sugarman & Susskind, a Miami law firm, where he represents employees, labor unions and pension and benefits funds. He served as a Florida state representative in 2012 and as a state senator in 2016. He volunteered with the Peace Corps and earned a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a juris doctor from Harvard Law School.  

A spokesperson for Manchin told multiple media outlets, including Politico and The Hill, that the senator had concerns with Rodríguez’s “political activism and lack of experience.” 

When cloture is invoked, debate ends, and the Senate typically has up to 30 hours to discuss the issue before voting.