Skip to main content

You are here


Senate HELP Committee to Hear from Labor Nominee

Regulatory Agencies

President Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of Labor (DOL) will get a shot to convince skeptical lawmakers that she is the best candidate to succeed Marty Walsh, who stepped down earlier this month to take a position with the NHL Players Association.

Julie Su, who was nominated to serve as U.S. Secretary of Labor and is currently serving in that position in an acting capacity, will appear Thursday, April 20 before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, according to a report by Bloomberg.  

In the lead up to her hearing, Su has been making the rounds on Capitol Hill, meeting with various senators, including one on March 27 with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY).

Su has been serving as Deputy Labor Secretary—the No. 2 post at the department—since her confirmation in July 2021, when no Senate Republicans voted in support of her nomination.

Prior to joining the DOL, Su served as Secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, where she oversaw the state’s departments and boards that enforce labor laws and employment programs. During her previous confirmation hearing in March 2021, she came under fire for unemployment compensation fraud that happened during her time as head of California’s labor department. 

Given the narrow 51-49 split in the Senate—and with various senators absent due to health reasons and others facing tight reelection races—the confirmation of Su may not be so easy. While Su is widely supported by unions and worker-advocacy groups, she is already coming under attack by various senators.  

In fact, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)—who is the current ranking Republican on the Senate HELP Committee—in a March 27 speech on the Senate floor expressed concern over the nomination. He criticized a proposed DOL rule released in October 2022 while Su was serving as Deputy Secretary that would limit Americans’ ability to classify themselves as independent contractors.

Sen. Cassidy also raised concerns over Su’s tenure as Secretary for the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, where she oversaw the implementation of AB 5, a 2019 state law that made it more difficult to classify workers as independent contractors.

“Deputy Secretary Su has a troubling record and is currently overseeing the Department of Labor’s development of anti-worker regulations that will dismantle the gig economy,” Cassidy stated. “This does not inspire confidence in her current position, let alone inspire confidence that she should be promoted. … I look forward to a full review and hearing process for her nomination.”

Meanwhile, she has also previously came under fire from business groups for her support of AB 5. In addition, the California Business and Industrial Alliance has been running ads against Su’s nomination, arguing that she’s not qualified to be Labor secretary due to the unemployment fraud that occurred on her watch in California.