The confirmation of Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) as Labor Secretary has run into an unexpected delay, as an unidentified Republican senator appears to have placed a hold on her nomination. That may not prevent her nomination, since presidents get fairly wide latitude in cabinet appointments. Still, as a Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial notes today, Republican senators are right to ask more questions:
Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming, ranking Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has been outspoken in his criticism of Rep. Solis’ testimony in her confirmation hearing, focusing his criticism on her responses concerning the “card check” bill that would allow unions to bypass secret ballot elections in their attempts to win recognition as collective bargaining agents — a change which organized labor has made a high priority.
Asked Thursday whether he was satisfied with the answers given to date by Rep. Solis — who voted for the so-called Employee Free Choice Act in the House in 2007 — Sen. Enzi replied, “What answers? She doesn’t even recognize her own record when giving the answers.”
The Los Angles Times, in its story on Solis’s hearing, features video of her handling of the EFCA question. That Solis would support President Obama’s positions — which unions largely support — does not disqualify her from the position. But her record does put some burden on her to demonstrate that she will not act as a mere advocate for organized labor within the federal government. Moreover, as the Review-Journal‘s editors note, lawmakers should also ponder the consequences of the Obama labor agenda on the broader economy.
President Obama has said repeatedly that fast action is needed to shore up a teetering economy. Frankly, much that has been proposed — blocking asset transfers from failed firms to new entrepreneurs more likely to create productive, long-term jobs, instead seizing more private wealth to fund government make-work boondoggles — is as unwise now as it was in 1933.
But in this economic climate, with each week producing a new empty parking lot with plywood on the windows, do the geniuses in Washington really mean to create a situation where business owners already struggling to stay afloat can without warning be handed their “last straw” — a stack of cards adorned with the message, “You’re now a union shop; here are our demands”?