President Biden’s nominee for a key position in the Labor Department was rejected by the Senate Wednesday — with three Democrats joining all 50 Republicans to vote against the pick.
The vote to advance David Weil’s nomination to head up the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division failed 53-47 as Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly, both of Arizona, opposed the nomination.
The vote to end debate on the nomination only needed a simple majority to pass.
Weil, who served in the Obama administration, faced stiff opposition from Senate Republicans, who claimed he would impose overly burdensome regulations affecting small businesses and independent contractors.
The nomination was the first by Biden to be defeated on the Senate floor. Notable names who have withdrawn from consideration for executive branch posts include Neera Tanden (Office of Management and Budget), David Chipman (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) and Sarah Bloom Raskin (Federal Reserve Board of Governors).
A spokesperson for Sinema told CNN that the lawmaker “has concerns” about Weil’s “ability to faithfully execute and uphold the law.” Neither Manchin nor Kelly elaborated on their reasons for voting down the nomination.
Sen. Patty Murray, the chairwoman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which held hearings on Weil’s nomination, said she was “incredibly disappointed” and called him “an exceptionally qualified nominee with a long track record fighting to ensure workers get the wages they have earned.”
“Despite this outcome, I will never stop fighting for working families and for a fully staffed DOL with leaders committed to protecting workers,” Murray (D-Wash.) added.
Business groups had also expressed vehement opposition to Weil, a dean at Brandeis University, for his belief that corporations like McDonald’s should be liable for actions taken by franchisees
“Tonight’s vote sends a strong signal that Americans and small business owners are tired of overregulation and policies that make it harder to provide for their employees and grow their business,” International Franchise Association President Matthew Haller said in a statement on Wednesday.
“IFA is proud of our members who made their voice heard and will continue to work with the Administration and Congress to protect the franchise business model and the countless opportunities it provides,” he added.