Eugene Scalia testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee during his confirmation hearing to become Secretary of the U.S. Labor Department, on Thursday, September 19, 2019. (Photo: Diego Radzinschi/ALM) Eugene Scalia testifies before the Senate HELP Committee. (Photo: Diego Radzinschi/ALM)

The full Senate voted 53-44 Thursday to confirm Eugene Scalia to be the new Labor secretary.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., along with Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee ranking member Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, held a 10:15 a.m. media briefing to discuss what they said was Scalia’s “disturbing, anti-worker track record and to voice strong opposition” to his nomination.

Scalia told Senate HELP Committee members on Sept. 19 that if confirmed, he’d seek advice from Labor’s in-house ethics staff on whether he should participate in crafting a new Labor Department fiduciary rule that aligns with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation Best Interest.

Labor’s rule is said to be in its final stages.

Scalia, the former Gibson Dunn attorney who fought successfully on behalf of the brokerage industry to overturn the now-defunct Obama-era fiduciary rule, testified to the HELP Committee that he was retained by clients to address the rule, which he said was “a controversial rule. Thankfully, the Securities and Exchange Commission has stepped in and itself adopted what’s called a best-interest standard with respect to broker-dealers who are folks that ordinarily are regulated directly by the SEC, rather than by the Department of Labor. Again, having worked at the department before, I’m very mindful of this special role that the department has in protecting pensions and workers’ retirements.”

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