Did Kevin Kiley flip votes to block Joe Biden’s labor secretary nominee?

Julie Su’s stalled nomination as U.S. Labor secretary got a vote in a secret committee meeting this week, said fierce opponent Rep. Kevin Kiley.

But the meeting was not a secret.

He said the nomination had been defeated.

It has not been, though Democratic Senate leaders feel she doesn’t have the votes to be confirmed. But there’s been no full Senate vote.

Kiley also said he had helped flip votes against Su. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., voted for Su for deputy labor secretary in 2021 but last year said he’d oppose her for the top job. While some other Democrats who backed her four years ago have said they are undecided, Manchin is the only known change.

Asked Thursday by The Bee if Kiley had help flip his vote, Manchin replied “Who’s Kevin Kiley?”

Kiley, R-Rocklin, made his latest statements about Su on his “Capital Quagmire” blog and on X, former Twitter,Tuesday.

His comments came shortly after the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee voted 11 to 10 along party lines in a well-publicized meeting to send the Su nomination to the full Senate. Again.

Kiley has been successful in the effort to derail the Su bid since President Joe Biden nominated her a year ago.

From 2019 to 2021, Su headed the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, which oversaw the chaotic state unemployment system during the Covid years.

She came to Washington shortly after Biden became president, serving as deputy labor secretary. For about the past year, Su has been acting secretary.

Her confirmation faced trouble as Republicans and some Democrats questioned her work in California and her support for a controversial state law that allows independent contractors to have certain worker rights, such as a minimum wage.

On his blog, Kiley Tuesday cited a San Francisco Chronicle article that he said “focused on our success stopping Julie Su’s confirmation as Labor Secretary. After exposing her role in Newsom’s disastrous governorship, we flipped votes and defeated the nomination.”

“Su’s unbelievable responses to my questioning last year sealed her fate,” he wrote.

In June, Su appeared before the House workforce committee and was grilled hard by Republicans, including Kiley. He pressed her on whether she supported Assembly Bill 5 but found her hard to pin down.

Kiley’s chief complaint involving Su is that she was an enthusiastic supporter of California’s AB5, the four-year-old law that generally allows independent contractors certain worker rights, such as minimum wages.

After the hearing with Su, Kiley called her “the most evasive witness I’ve ever seen.”

Whether his forum — and his questioning of Su — led to Senate doubts about her ability to serve is impossible to measure.

”Today Bernie Sanders held a secret confirmation hearing with no questions.”

Kiley told the Bee “It was a closed-door session, in contrast to the first hearing.”

Such meetings, to reconsider nominations that did not succeed in a previous year, are not uncommon. There is often no new testimony, since a confirmation had already been held. And this meeting was advertised well in advance.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., the committee’s top Republican, was not pleased. He wanted to speak, and said at the start of the session that it was a “mockery” because there would be no new hearing.

“Of course it was not a secret meeting. You have to legally publicize it,” Bernie Sanders later told The Bee.

The Congressional Record, the log of everything that goes in the House and Senate chambers and provides schedules, listed the meeting date, time and subject on Monday. It was on the weekly schedule of Congress.gov in advance, and the media got an advisory Monday afternoon about the meeting.

The same day, Cassidy said in a Senate speech “This week, the HELP Committee—the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee—will be holding a vote on the renomination of Julie Su for Secretary of Labor.”

Kiley told The Bee “I agree it wasn’t a hearing . That’s why I put it in quote marks.”

”After exposing her role in Newsom’s disastrous governorship, we flipped votes and defeated the nomination.”

The Senate has not voted on her nomination. All 49 Republicans were expected to oppose her. Manchin is also a no.

“I don’t think she ever had the votes,” Sanders said of the 2023 decision not to call for a vote.

As a result, Su has been acting secretary since mid-March, when previous Labor Secretary Marty Walsh left the job. She’s allowed to stay indefinitely because of a series of laws that permit her to do so.

Kiley pointed to the 2021 Senate vote to confirm Su as deputy secretary. There was one less Democrat in the Senate then, and she was confirmed, 50 to 47.

Manchin did vote to confirm her in 2021. So did the other 49 senators in the Democratic caucus. Forty-seven Republicans voted no, and three did not vote. When Manchin issued a statement opposing Su last year, he did not mention that anyone helped him decide his vote.

“Flipped votes? I have no idea,” Sanders said.

“My position has never changed. I thought she was doing a great job in what she was doing (as deputy),” Manchin At the time, he said, said, but added he is sticking to his 2023 position.

He said then “ While her credentials and qualifications are impressive, I have genuine concerns that Julie Su’s more progressive background prevents her from doing this and for that reason I cannot support her nomination to serve as Secretary of Labor.”

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