Biden White House Continues To Push Big Union Ally Julie Su, Part Of A Raft Of Radical And Unqualified Nominees

In Spite Of A ‘Full-Court Press’ By The White House And Powerful Big-Pocketed Unions, Many Democrat Senators Are Still Reluctant To Support Labor Secretary Nominee Julie Su, Whose Mismanagement Of California’s Unemployment Insurance During The Pandemic Looms Large Over Her Nomination


SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “For someone who campaigned as a moderate and promised to unify our country, President Biden has chosen to staff his Administration with a roster of alarmingly radical or unqualified personnel. In recent weeks, the President’s nominees who have made the biggest headlines have been the ones so far outside the mainstream that even a Democrat Senate majority wouldn’t confirm them. Like the appeals court nominee who defended a school against a teenage victim of sexual assault. Or the traffic safety nominee whose real passion turned out to be extreme environmental regulations. Well, this week the Senate is considering yet another slate of radical nominations that are entirely unworthy of confirmation.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 6/07/2023)

SENATE REPUBLICAN WHIP JOHN THUNE (R-SD): “[T]he hits just keep coming with this administration. They keep putting people up here and now we’re told that they’re going to take another run at trying to put Julie Su in as Secretary of Labor. And let me just remind people of her record as the labor commissioner in the state of California where they paid out $31 billion, $31 billion in fraudulent UI claims and their error rate during the first six months of the pandemic was 36.6 percent, 36.6 percent of all those claims that were paid out were fraudulent. Bill Cassidy, who is … the ranking member of the Health Committee here in the Senate has done a lot of good research on her record and discovered two that she tried to obstruct an ICE investigation by authorizing the hiding of illegal immigrants in taxpayer funded office space. This is a nominee who … shouldn’t have been nominated in the first place but should not be confirmed by the United States Senate and is another example of the basic lack of competence we see from this administration when it comes to the people that they try and put in important positions.” (Sen. Thune, Press Conference, 6/07/2023)

SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R-LA), Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member: “Julie Su has an extensive record of partisan activism and promoting policies that undermine workers to the benefit of politically-connected labor unions A qualified Secretary of Labor needs to successfully handle negotiations, manage a department properly, and refrain from partisan activism. I haven’t seen evidence of Julie Su’s ability to do any of those three things.” (U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Ranking Member, Press Release, 4/26/2023)


Despite Months Of Pressure From The White House, Democrats Still Lack The Votes To Confirm Julie Su To Be Secretary Of Labor

“Julie Su, the acting secretary of Labor … will testify in front of a House committee — where she’s going to be grilled by House Republicans — while the Democratic-run Senate remains hung up over her nomination to formally become Labor secretary.” (Punchbowl News AM, 6/07/2023)

“Her nomination passed out of committee with no Republican votes and has sat idle since, despite amped up support in recent weeks from the White House and union heads…. The efforts have had no measurable impact.” (“Biden’s Labor Secretary Nominee Su Struggles To Win Over Senate Moderates,” USA Today, 6/07/2023)


A Number Of Key Democrats Remain Skeptical Of Su, Refusing To Say How They Might Vote

Some Are Reportedly Looking For Alternatives While Others Say, ‘If In Fact The Votes Aren’t There They Should Pull It And Move On’

“[S]everal moderate Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, several of whom hold seats that are up for reelection in 2024, are balking at voting for Su. Senators on the fence include: Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Mark Kelly of Arizona and Jon Tester of Montana. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an independent from Arizona, is also undecided.” (“Biden’s Labor Secretary Nominee Su Struggles To Win Over Senate Moderates,” USA Today, 6/07/2023)

  • “Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin does not plan to support President Joe Biden’s nominee for labor secretary and has solicited a list of alternate candidates, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter. Manchin’s opposition to nominee Julie Su could prove fatal if another senator who caucuses with Democrats also opposes her. After Manchin, D-W.Va., met … with Su he joined a call with the International Franchise Association, which opposes Su’s nomination because of her support for policies that the organization says ‘would dismantle the franchise business model.’ … It’s unclear at this point if Manchin will announce his intention not to support Su.” (“Manchin Seeks Alternatives To Biden Labor Secretary Nominee Julie Su,” NBC News, 5/19/2023)
  • “Jon Tester, who has not said how he will vote on Biden’s Labor pick of Julie Su, told me WH should pull her if she lacks support. ‘They should know the votes. And if in fact the votes aren’t there they should pull it and move on, unless they think they can move’ the nomination. Said he has not decided whether he will back her nomination. ‘I want to keep my options open until we have a vote in case new information comes in. That’s all,’ said Tester.” (Manu Raju, @mkraju, Twitter, 6/07/2023)


Big Unions Are Counting On Julie Su To Use The Labor Department For Their Benefit And Are ‘Pour[ing] On Support’ For Her

POLITICO: ‘Unions pour on support for Biden’s Labor pick amid confirmation worries’ (Politico, 4/22/2023)

“Outside groups, particularly the AFL-CIO, also stepped up their efforts to help Su recently and have been pushing Democrats to get her nomination across the line. AFL-CIO sent a letter to Democratic senators on Wednesday that included other union presidents, all voicing their unanimous support for Su. When Biden first announced her nomination, the AFL-CIO launched a six-figure digital ad buy to back Su and the ad has been playing in the Washington, D.C., area and in Sinema’s home state of Arizona.” (The Hill, 6/07/2023)

“A White House official said Jeff Zients, White House chief of staff, and White House Director of Legislative Affairs Louisa Terrell have held repeated discussions with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and other senators about the nomination. These conversations continued throughout the debt-limit crisis. Zients is in frequent contact with Su and labor union leaders, the White House official added. (Punchbowl News AM, 6/07/2023)

REMINDER: Julie Su Is An Unabashed Pro-Union Activist, Not A Fair Leader For A Department That Must Balance Interests Of Workers And Employers

DEPUTY SECRETARY OF LABOR JULIE SU: “Mr. President, when you said you wanted to be the most pro-worker, pro-union President in history and restore decency and build the middle class, I said, ‘Sign me up for that.’ I want to help do that.” (Deputy Sec. Su, Remarks, 3/01/2023)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “President Biden’s legislative agenda has little chance in the current Congress, but that means he’ll try to govern even more through regulation. It also means his regulatory and Cabinet nominees deserve extra scrutiny, and an example is Julie Su, his choice to run the Department of Labor. Currently the deputy secretary, Ms. Su has a record of putting union interests above those of individual workers or flexible business models that workers like but unions oppose… In the top job she’d be in a position to intervene on behalf of unions in looming labor negotiations that could have a major economic impact. Maritime employers and longshoremen are sparring over a new contract, while UPS and the Teamsters began negotiating a new contract this week. The country needs a Labor secretary who is a credible arbiter, not a union partisan.” (Editorial, “A Big Labor Partisan Named Julie Su,” The Wall Street Journal, 4/18/2023)

In 2005, Su Wrote That Corporations ‘Promote And Perpetuate Economic Injustice… The Real Problem, And The Larger Challenge, Is The Growing Ability Of Corporations To Use, Abuse, And Exploit Poor People Anywhere In The World’

JULIE SU: “The very definition of a corporation as an entity that is created to permit maximum income and designed to insulate the individuals who will profit from liability for the acts of that entity, seems to promote and perpetuate economic injustice. … But executive salaries are only a small part of the problem.  The real problem, and the larger challenge, is the growing ability of corporations to use, abuse, and exploit poor people anywhere in the world, and do this through subcontracting for labor.” (Julie Su, “The Progressive Crtitique of the Current Socia-legal Landscape Corporations and Economic Justice Corporations and Economic Justice,” Seattle Journal for Social Justice, 11/2005)


At A House Committee Hearing Yesterday, Su Repeatedly Attempted To Dodge Responsibility For The $31 Billion In Covid Unemployment Fraud In California She Presided Over

HOUSE EDUCATION AND WORKFORCE COMMITTEE CHAIRWOMAN VIRGINIA FOXX (R-NC): “Just look at her record of mismanagement as California’s Secretary of Labor: She lost $32 billion in taxpayer money to fraud and implemented legislation that devastated independent contractors. As Deputy Secretary of Labor, she has continued to put Big Labor interests over the rights of the American worker. Our economy does not need more of these same harmful policies on a national scale.” (Punchbowl News AM, 6/07/2023)

“Rep. Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, repeatedly asked Su, secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency from 2019 until mid-2021, when she became deputy U.S. labor secretary, whether she took responsibility for the more than $30 billion in fraudulent claims that jolted California’s unemployment insurance system. … Kiley struggled to get a straight answer. ‘Do you accept any responsibility for the unemployment fraud that occurred in California, yes or no?’ he asked at one point. ‘I think an unemployment insurance system that truly delivers in times of crisis should be the goal of everybody,’ Su replied.” (“Republicans Blame Labor Secretary Nominee For Massive California Unemployment Insurance Fraud,” Sacramento Bee, 6/07/2023)

  • “Kiley said he understood there were circumstances beyond her control, and asked Su again if she accepted responsibility. Su cited a state audit that identified two key reasons for the fraud, an unprecedented volume of claims as the COVID pandemic ravaged the economy, and a federal program without the usual safeguards. But Kiley pushed back by citing other conclusions from the auditor. In January 2021 the auditor wrote that ‘Despite repeated warnings, EDD did not bolster its fraud detection efforts until months into the pandemic.’ It also said EDD’s response to the fraud was ‘massive missteps and inaction.’ Su finally did concede some responsibility for the problems. ‘To be clear, congressman, I did not run the EDD. I was labor secretary of California. But several agencies fell under my purview. And I did take responsibility for our needs,’ she said. ‘There were desperate Californians who were very hard hit by closures, by the loss of their jobs, and relied on unemployment insurance.’” (“Republicans Blame Labor Secretary Nominee For Massive California Unemployment Insurance Fraud,” Sacramento Bee, 6/07/2023)

FLASHBACK: SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): “But of greater concern to me is your record in California, and this is something I’ve raised with you before, but the fact that under your lead, unemployment insurance payments in California of some $31 billion went to people who were basically receiving money on a criminal basis, illegally receiving money from the federal government, 31 billion! … That’s almost twice the total budget of the Department of Labor. Under your leadership in California, $31 billion was fraudulently paid out. Now, there’s a principle in all sorts of enterprises known as the ‘Peter Principle,’ which is people get promoted to a point where their competence is no longer been established. In this case, your record there is so severely lacking, I don’t know how in the world it makes sense for the President to nominate you to take over this Department. To work behind Marty Walsh is one thing, and to learn from him. But you haven’t had experience negotiating a major deal between unions and management, and your leadership of an enterprise resulted in $31 billion of fraudulent payments. What am I missing?” (U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee Hearing, 4/20/2023)

Indeed, California Businesses Are Being Forced To Pay A ‘Su Tax’ In Order To Bail Out The State’s Unemployment Insurance Fund

“Julie Su is on Capitol Hill auditioning to be President Joe Biden’s next labor secretary, but back in her home state of California, businesses are paying what some call the ‘Su Tax’—a hike in payroll taxes to make up for the massive fraud that took place on her watch during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 60 California businesses and agriculture groups complained last month that their four million-plus members face escalating payroll taxes to bail out the state’s insolvent unemployment insurance fund. The groups warned state legislative leaders that the taxes—which could exceed $400 per worker each year—threaten employee-heavy small businesses and restaurants that were already devastated by California Democrats’ strict COVID-19 lockdowns.” (“The ‘Su Tax’: California Businesses Are Still Paying for Biden Nominee Julie Su’s $31B Mistake,” Washington Free Beacon, 4/27/2023)

  • “More than two years later, California’s unemployment insurance fund is still nearly $20 billion in the red. Since federal law decrees that the fund must be replenished, the burden falls on California businesses through a reduction of their tax credits. The businesses—already among the nation’s most heavily taxed and regulated—will pay for the state’s errors starting with a $21-per-employee increase in their payroll taxes. The tax bump will rise every year that the fund remains insolvent, maxing out at $434 per worker, with no exemption for small businesses.” (“The ‘Su Tax’: California Businesses Are Still Paying for Biden Nominee Julie Su’s $31B Mistake,” Washington Free Beacon, 4/27/2023)



Related Issues: Senate Democrats, Labor, Nominations