All but six Republican senators today voted against ending debate on controversial labor secretary nominee Tom Perez today. With debate ended, Perez is expected to be confirmed shortly.
The six Repbulicans who joined the Democrats were Senators John McCain (Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Susan Collins (Maine), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Bob Corker (Tenn.), and Mark Kirk (Ill.). Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) tweeted hours before the vote “Please reach out to your #GOP senator & ask them not to surrender & vote to cut off debate on #Obama Labor Sec nominee Perez this afternoon” and after the vote was passed, accused his six GOP colleagues of “surrender.”
During his time in politics in Maryland, Perez was “a self-described progressive,” per the Washington Post. As a member of the Montgomery County Council, Perez worked hard to establish day-laborer sites — sites that were widely understood as being places where illegal immigrants could gather and find employers — and to allow ids issued by Mexico and Guatemala to be used, even thought that could help illegal immigrants get access to government-funded services. And even after a FDA official had made it clear that it was illegal to import prescription drugs from Canada, Perez pushed for Montgomery County to do so, later justifying it by saying, “Federal law is muddled” and “sometimes you have to push the envelope.”