Federal agencies Leadership

Trump to nominate R. Alexander Acosta to be secretary of labor


Washington – President Donald Trump says he will nominate former Justice Department official R. Alexander Acosta as secretary of labor after his first choice fell through.

Trump tapped Acosta one day after fast-food executive Andrew Puzder withdrew his name from consideration. The Senate was scheduled to vote on Puzder’s nomination Feb. 16.

Instead, lawmakers will turn their attention to Acosta, a veteran of public service. He was appointed in 2003 by President George W. Bush to serve as assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. He also has been a member of the National Labor Relations Board, and currently is dean of the law school at Florida International University.

“He’ll be a tremendous secretary of labor,” Trump told White House reporters, according to news reports.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) said she would support Acosta’s nomination only if he showed that he could fight for all workers at all levels of an organization. Murray is the ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

“I look forward to carefully reviewing Mr. Acosta’s qualifications and background, and meeting with him to discuss his plans and vision for the department,” Murray said in a press release. “I have some initial concerns about his record, and especially based on what we’ve seen in past nominees from President Trump, I will continue to insist on a rigorous and thorough vetting process in which senators get the information we need and have all reasonable questions answered.”

On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) expressed her support for Acosta. Foxx is chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

“Alexander Acosta has the depth of knowledge and experience necessary to make a fine secretary of labor,” Foxx said in a press release. “We urgently need new leadership at the department who will take on the special interests and put America’s workers and job creators first. It is my hope the Senators will thoroughly and swiftly vet Mr. Acosta’s nomination so we can begin to move the department in a better direction.”

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