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Biden’s EBSA Nominee Back on the Docket

Regulatory Agencies

President Biden’s nominee to lead the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) appears to be back on track. 

While it appeared the nomination of Lisa Gomez to serve as Assistant Secretary for EBSA at the Department of Labor was in jeopardy after having been included in a list of nominees that would not carry over to the new year, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee has now scheduled a January 12 nomination hearing for her, along with several other nominees. 

The Senate HELP Committee had only just advanced her nomination in early December on a near-party-line vote of 12-10, but the Senate did not act before the year-end break. Since her nomination was not carried over, the nomination process will start over again. As such, President Biden resubmitted her nomination on Jan. 4.

Gomez was first nominated last July and a hearing was held by the Senate HELP Committee in October, but her nomination reportedly was held up after Republican members wanted to dig deeper into her views on environmental, social and corporate governance investing.  

Gomez currently is a partner at labor law firm Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP, representing employer and union pension plans. She joined the firm in 1994, became a partner in 2002 and currently serves as Chair of the firm’s Management Committee.

This appears to be one of the longest periods in recent memory that EBSA has not had a Senate-confirmed nominee serving as Assistant Secretary. Comparatively speaking, Phyllis Borzi under the Obama administration was confirmed in July 2009, while Preston Rutledge under the Trump administration was confirmed in December 2017. Ali Khawar has been serving as Acting Assistant Secretary for the EBSA since the beginning of the Biden administration.