For Labor Nominee, GOP Senators Are Old Foes

by Katrina Trinko

If a prior Senate vote is any indication, Thomas Perez, President Obama’s labor nominee, may have a tough path to confirmation.

When Perez was appointed assistant attorney general for the civil-rights division in 2009, the confirmation vote was 72 to 22. Seventeen of the 22 Republican senators who voted nay are still in the Senate, including three members of GOP leadership: Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), John Barrasso (R., Wyo.), and John Thune (R., S.D.) 

Other members of Perez’s past opposition include Saxby Chambliss (R., Ga.), Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.), John McCain (R., Ariz.), Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), and David Vitter (R., Louisiana).

Among Republicans who voted to confirm, ten senators remain in the upper chamber. But one of those ten is Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), who told National Review Online on Tuesday that he would block Perez’s nomination if questions that he had about Perez’s work at the Justice Department weren’t answered.

“Grassley, who voted for him before, is now committed to blocking him,” says a GOP Senate aide. “The fact that he’s now being nominated for a position of much greater responsibility than his current post suggests that the significant opposition he faced last time will only increase.”

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