Two months after Democrats and labor advocates forced Andrew Puzder—President Donald Trump’s original pick to lead the Department of Labor—to withdraw from consideration, his replacement has been installed. Yesterday (April 27), the Senate confirmed Rene Alexander Acosta as the final member of Trump’s cabinet.
The vote was 60-38, with eight Democrats breaking ranks to approve him. Acosta, who is Cuban-American, is the only Latinx member of the president’s cabinet.
Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) issued a statement following the vote, saying that he supports Acosta and hopes he will promote “labor policies that are free of unnecessarily burdens federal regulations”:
The Senate confirmed Alex Acosta to serve as our next Labor Secretary (60-38). My statement: pic.twitter.com/WUyadCNhLZ
— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) April 27, 2017
The frequently outspoken Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is less hopeful:
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) April 27, 2017
Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project—which advocates for a $15 federal minimum wage and work opportunities for the formerly incarcerated—has similar doubts, saying in a statement:
Today, the Senate confirmed Alexander Acosta to be the next U.S. secretary of labor. While we continue to have serious concerns about some of Mr. Acosta’s responses during his confirmation hearing—as well as questions left unanswered—we believe that workers’ interests are best respected and promoted when all stakeholders are at the Labor Department’s table, and we are committed to being there and remaining engaged. We will do everything within our power to ensure that a Labor Department led by Mr. Acosta will continue to vigorously enforce the laws that guarantee fair pay, safe and healthy workplaces, and employment free of discrimination.
Watch Acosta’s swearing in below, starting at the one hour, six minute-mark.