California Rep. Hilda Solis won confirmation Tuesday as President Barack Obama’s labor secretary, giving the agency a decidedly pro-worker tilt after years of business-friendly leadership under the Bush administration.
The 80-17 vote ended more than a month of delays prompted by GOP concerns over Solis’ work for a pro-union organization, and later, revelations about her husband’s unpaid taxes.
But Democrats said Solis had put to rest any questions and called her a powerful advocate for working families.
“For the last eight years working families have felt like an afterthought of the previous administration,” Sen. Patty Murray said on the Senate floor. “Workers today need an advocate in the new administration who’s going to stand up for them.”
A final vote came only after Democrats won assurances earlier in the day that Republicans would not filibuster the nomination.
Solis, 51, was to be sworn in later Tuesday night and was set to begin work Wednesday. She will manage an agency with an annual budget of about $53 billion and nearly 17,000 employees.
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