Senate panel backs Obama labor nominee Perez

WASHINGTON Thu May 16, 2013 11:52am EDT

Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice Thomas Perez speaks during a news conference in Phoenix, Arizona May 10, 2012. REUTERS/Joshua Lott

Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice Thomas Perez speaks during a news conference in Phoenix, Arizona May 10, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Joshua Lott

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Senate committee voted along party lines on Thursday to send President Barack Obama's controversial nominee for secretary of labor, Thomas Perez, to the full Senate for a confirmation vote.

The 12-10 vote by the Health and Labor Committee followed weeks of delay by Republicans, who say Perez is a crusading ideologue who would bend the law to advance his agenda.

The fate of the nomination in the full Senate is uncertain. While it is controlled by Democrats, Republicans have hinted they might use procedural tactics to delay or block a vote.

Republicans have also used procedural delays in committee to hold up the nomination of Obama's nominee to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said last week that Perez has shown throughout his career a "flippant and dismissive attitude about the boundaries everyone else has to follow" and accused him of being an ideologue. Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas likewise took to the Senate floor to excoriate Perez's record.

The Obama administration and congressional Democrats have praised Perez's dedication to civil service and highlighted his role as a bipartisan consensus builder.

Perez, 51, is the assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. Republicans have criticized Perez's record on voting rights and immigration.

They accuse Perez of making a deal in which he got St. Paul, Minnesota, officials to withdraw a Supreme Court appeal in exchange for the department not pursuing allegations the city filed false claims in a government funding application.

Perez said he handling of the cases was completely proper, but Republicans have been dissatisfied with his explanation.

(Editing by Fred Barbash and Doina Chiacu)

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Comments (3)
With all these fillibusters, delays and procedural roadblocks, I wonder if republicans will allow Obama to finish filling out his cabinet by the end of his second term.

This intransigence and obstructionism is exposing serious flaws in our system of government and showing just how easy it is for a few self-serving politicians to bring everything to a grinding halt. The cry of “government doesn’t work” is a self-fulfilling prophecy, they are doing everything the can to prevent it from working so they can say “Look, we just need to give all of our money to corporations and the rich, they’ll fix everything (*wink wink*)”

May 16, 2013 12:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
RogerClegg wrote:
Here are ten reasons (there are more, but this is a good start) to oppose Mr. Perez’s confirmation:
http://heritageaction.com/2013/04/10-reasons-not-to-confirm-thomas-perez-as-next-labor-secretary/

May 16, 2013 4:30pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
RogerClegg wrote:
Here are ten reasons (there are more, but this is a good start) to oppose Mr. Perez’s confirmation:
http://heritageaction.com/2013/04/10-reasons-not-to-confirm-thomas-perez-as-next-labor-secretary/

May 16, 2013 4:31pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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