February 12, 2009 / 12:28 AM / 11 years ago

Obama's labor nominee advances despite tax problem

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Senate panel on Wednesday recommended that President Barack Obama’s nominee for labor secretary be confirmed by the full Senate, nearly a week after tax questions had put her confirmation hearing on hold.

Labor Secretary-designate Hilda Solis faced questions over her husband’s unpaid business taxes, in the latest in a string of tax revelations that have hampered Obama’s efforts to seat a Cabinet.

“She was approved by voice vote, with the record reflecting two ‘nays,’ Senate Labor Committee spokesman Anthony Coley said.

Republicans Tom Coburn and Pat Roberts dissented, he said.

The 22-member panel delayed a vote on Solis last Thursday following reports that her husband had paid about $6,400 one day earlier to settle tax liens outstanding against his business for as long as 16 years.

The White House said Solis was not involved in her husband’s business and should not be punished for the tax problems.

Solis was the fourth member of the new administration to run into trouble over unpaid taxes. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was confirmed by the Senate after paying $34,000 in late self-employment taxes.

Health Secretary-designate Tom Daschle withdrew from consideration after paying $140,000 in back taxes and penalties. Nancy Killefer, Obama’s choice to oversee budget and spending reform, also withdrew over tax issues.

Reporting by JoAnne Allen; Editing by Xavier Briand

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