Solis Appointment Moves Out of Senate Committee

Finally, good news, as reported in The Nation:

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, where the [nomination of California Congresswoman Hilda] Solis had been stalled, voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday evening to recommend confirmation of the congresswoman.

Solis, a labor ally who whose confirmation process was delayed by conservative Republicans who objected to her union ties and progressive politics, got the committee O.K. on a voice vote. Only two Republican members of the committee were heard to object.

A full Senate vote is likely this week, and Republican opposition appears to be crumbling.

As noted in the article, opponents to her confirmation first latched on to a tax issue related to her husband’s small business, aka, “A partisan ploy designed to embarrass Obama following the Daschle debacle, rather than a serious complaint about Solis.” Then, “[a]n objection to the involvement of the pro-labor congresswoman with pro-labor groups was acknowledged even by some Republicans as laughable.”

Once again, U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, flown in to vote on the stimulus bill, was able to break the logjam:

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee chair Kennedy, a Solis ally and champion, saw an opening and seized it. After consulting Wednesday with key Republicans on the committee, Kennedy scheduled a hasty committee session, called for a vote and got the Solis nomination out of committee and headed toward confirmation.

And that, my friends, is the real value, for any aligned contingent, in having incumbency, experience and seniority on your side. It’s also the textbook definition of politics.

Other reports: Alternet, and, from the AFL-CIO blog, word that the vote might even come tomorrow.

Workforce Management offers one additional hold up that could occur, however:

Once Solis is put before the whole Senate, any member could prevent a vote by placing a “hold” on it. Her nomination would almost certainly prevail in a roll-call vote. Democrats hold a 58-41 majority, with a disputed Minnesota race still pending.

A White House spokesman said Wednesday that he anticipates Senate approval.

“I think that process will hopefully conclude quickly,” said Robert Gibbs, White House press secretary. “The president has confidence in her ability to continue the department’s mission.”

Now, to be fair, one of the concerns about Solis is her support of the Employee Free Choice Act. You can read more about it here at Congresspedia. It has not yet been introduced in the 111th Congress. It deals with simplifying the way in which employees can form and choose to be members of unions. However, employers allege a fear that people will be pressured into joining as well as a more realistic fear that the ranks of unions will swell. Here’s an interesting article intended for management about how to deal, preventatively, with the likelihood of EFCA becoming law.

It’s late so I’ll pass on describing my experiences with unions but frankly, like most everything else, thre are points to be made for both sides and the bottom line is, as with the Lilly Ledbetter Act, if businesses treated their workers better, as a general rule, none of this stuff would be necessary, but it’s just not that way.

About the Author: Jill Miller Zimon is an award-winning freelance writer, blogger and political commentator. Her election coverage appeared on Newsweek’s The Ruckus and she has provided on-air political analysis for Cleveland public radio (WCPN) and television (WVIZ), CNN, BBC and other broadcast outlets. You can listen to or watch selections of her appearances here. Zimon started her blog, Writes Like She Talks, in 2005. In Fall 2007, she joined the Plain Dealer/ online venture, Wide Open. It was the first paid collaboration between a traditional newspaper and independent political bloggers in the country. This past August, she was named to WE Magazine’s list of 101 Women Bloggers to Watch This Fall. Zimon’s other blogging work includes being a Contributing Editor for’s Election 2008 coverage and co-editing the Carnival of Ohio Blogs since 2007 on a voluntary basis. She was a board member of the Society of Professional Journalists Cleveland Pro Chapter in 2007 and presented at SPJ’s national conference in 2005.

Cross-posted from Writes Like She Talks.

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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.