One of the more pleasantly surprising aspects of President Joe Biden’s tenure in office thus far has been those instances where relatively moderate members of his own party have joined with Republicans to thwart the administration’s progressive agenda.
That happened again on Wednesday when three Democratic senators voted alongside their GOP colleagues in successful opposition to an individual nominated by Biden for a key leadership role in the Labor Department, The Daily Caller reported.
Those three lawmakers were Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), while the rejected nominee was David Weil, picked to head the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division, a position he had held previously under the Obama administration.
His nomination had been opposed by a unified Republican bloc as well as small businesses and franchise groups due to Weil’s heavy-handed policies that are viewed as unnecessarily detrimental and harmful to employers and business owners while being exceptionally favorable to employees and workers.
Stunning failure in procedural confirmation move
According to CNN, a simple majority vote was all that was required in a procedural move Wednesday to advance Weil’s nomination to a final confirmation vote but that plan unexpectedly went awry and Weil’s nomination was killed by a vote of 47-53 when the trio of Democratic senators crossed the aisle to oppose him.
The outlet noted that both the White House and Senate Democratic leaders expressed disappointment in the fact that the purportedly highly “qualified” nominee had been rejected.
Except, per statements from the three Democrats who voted against him, Weil’s qualifications for the role were never in question. Rather, it was his prior track record in that position and expectations of his actions going forward if confirmed that prompted the “No” votes on his nomination.
Prior track record of nominee the reason for the rejection
A spokesperson for Sen. Sinema said in a statement, according to CNN, that “As she promised Arizonans, Kyrsten evaluates all nominees based on three criteria: whether or not they are professionally qualified, believe in the missions of their agencies, and can be trusted to faithfully execute and uphold the law.”
“Upon reviewing Mr. Weil’s nomination, she has concerns with his ability to faithfully execute and uphold the law,” Sinema’s spokesperson added.
Sen. Kelly told Politico, “I heard from a lot of business owners, and being somebody who started a business myself, it’s hard,” and added of Weil, “There were concerns about how he’d interpret things — and he had served in the position before, so there’s precedent.”
“West Virginia small businesses are the heart of our economy and our communities. Mr. Weil’s track record and previous statements are problematic for many West Virginia employees and business owners,” Sen. Manchin said in a statement. “Ultimately, I could not support Mr. Weil because I do not believe that the health and well-being of our small businesses and the employees who rely on their success would be his utmost priority.”
Politico noted that while Weil is not the first Biden nominee to not be confirmed, he is the first to have his nomination killed in a vote on the Senate floor, which constitutes a rather embarrassing loss for not only the president but also Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and his allies, who rarely bring anything to the floor for a vote unless they are certain they have the necessary votes locked in for passage.