It’s a busy time in Washington.
Fresh off the news on Friday that Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, introduced a bill to delay the implementation of the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule by two years, Congress will launch this week confirmation hearings for President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet positions.
The Senate will start on Tuesday with nomination hearings for Jeff Sessions, who was nominated by President-Elect Trump to be Attorney General as well as General John F. Kelly, USMC (Ret.), to be Secretary of Homeland Security. On Wednesday, the hearing for former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to be the new Secretary of Transportation will take place. On Thursday, the Senate Banking Committee will convene regarding the nomination of Dr. Ben Carson to be Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The hearing for Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of Education has been postponed until Jan. 17.
Democratic lawmakers – lead by Sen. Elizabeth Warren – have already called on the Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Lamar Alexander, to include witnesses to speak on the business practices and treatment of workers by Andrew Puzder, Trump’s nominee to lead the Labor Department. Alexander rejected their request.
Puzder – whose nomination hearing is to occur the week of Jan. 16 – has spoken out against the Obama administration’s overtime rules, but has yet to weigh in on where he stands regarding Labor’s fiduciary rule. “It’s not even clear” that Puzder “has a firm position (even though most of his aides are opposed to the [fiduciary rule]),” Greg Valliere, chief global strategist for Horizon Investments, said in his Monday commentary, adding that Trump has likely not even looked at the rule.
Valliere noted a “clear signal” from Puzder on the fiduciary rule will come during his confirmation hearing.