R. Alexander Acosta Disqualified Himself For Labor Secretary With Refusal To Answer Committee Questions

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CHICAGO (March 30, 2017) — The following is a statement from Laura Barrett, Executive Director of Interfaith Worker Justice:

“The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions (HELP) will today decide whether R. Alexander Acosta’s nomination to lead the Department of Labor advances to the full Senate floor for a final vote. Despite objections by HELP Senate Democrats, Mr. Acosta’s nomination will most likely move forward.

“If so, the full Senate should reject Mr. Acosta’s nomination for Labor Secretary.

“Mr. Acosta’s vapid responses to Senators on the HELP Committee created more questions than they answered. Does Mr. Acosta fully understand the mission of the Department of Labor? Is he committed to that mission?

“Even on the most basic occupational safety questions, Mr. Acosta dodged. When asked about silica dust regulations by Senator Elizabeth Warren, Mr. Acosta could not commit to enforcing them, potentially putting tens of thousands of lives at risk. Mr. Acosta also declined to comment on his policy opinions or his administrative approach to issues like overtime pay, wage theft, and general occupational safety.  

“What’s more, Mr. Acosta confirmed that he’ll be ‘Trump’s man’ in the Department of Labor. Given the president’s deep demonstrated animus towards working people, this is a very distressing response.

“For these reasons, Interfaith Worker Justice urges HELP Senators to oppose Mr. Acosta’s nomination in Committee. Should Mr. Acosta’s nomination move to the full Senate floor, we will continue to urge all Senators to vote against Mr. Acosta to lead the Department of Labor.”