Christopher Gavin, Boston.com Staff
March 23, 2021 | 1:03 PM
The U.S. Senate confirmed Marty Walsh as secretary of labor on Monday in a bipartisan vote backing him as President Joe Biden’s pick to helm the Department of Labor.
The Dorchester Democrat got the strong backing of his party, and scooped up the two votes from the Senate’s independent senators from New England. The nays accounted for in the 68-29 final tally, and the three senators who did not vote at all, however, were exclusively Republicans.
Senate Minority Leader Republican Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, indicated Monday afternoon he would vote against Walsh’s nomination to signal opposition to Biden’s economic and labor initiatives, citing the president’s shutdown of the planned Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Keystone XL has said Biden’s decision caused the company to cut over 1,000, mostly union, jobs that were filled for the project. TC Energy Corp, the pipeline’s owner, had estimated construction would have generated 10,400 temporary jobs in the United States and another 2,800 positions in Canada.
Republicans lamented the decision, along with the proposal for a $15 minimum federal wage and the PRO Act being pushed by Democrats to strengthen workers’ protections during a committee hearing reviewing Walsh’s nomination last month. (Walsh, in response to criticism surrounding the pipeline, offered to lawmakers at the time Biden’s campaign promises to create 10 million jobs in clean energy sectors.)
“I’ll be voting against confirming Mr. Walsh. The Biden administration has already signaled they will ask him to implement a variety of policies that do not serve the long term interests of American workers,” McConnell said. “Unfortunately, it appears that won’t just be the case at the Department of Labor, but throughout the Democratic agenda. One of the president’s first actions in office was to kill thousands of American jobs, including union jobs, by canceling the Keystone XL pipeline. Both working Americans and domestic energy security took a backseat to left-wing signaling.”
Still, Walsh garnered support from 18 Republican lawmakers, including former-Massachusetts-governor-turned-Utah-Sen. Mitt Romney.
“He respects the importance of job creators, and the need for better coordination of numerous job training programs,” said Republican North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, ranking member of the Senate committee that backed Walsh’s nomination last month. “Mayor Walsh is committed to making sure Commerce and Labor work cooperatively …. We won’t agree on everything, but we should be able to find places that we can agree, in a bipartisan way, to move forward.”
Here are the senators who voted against Marty Walsh’s confirmation:
- Sen. John Barrasso III (R-Wyoming)
- Sen. John Boozman (R-Arkansas)
- Sen. Mike Braun (R-Indiana)
- Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas)
- Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)
- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
- Sen. Steve Daines (R-Montana)
- Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)
- Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tennessee)
- Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri)
- Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi)
- Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma)
- Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin)
- Sen. John Kennedy (R-Louisiana)
- Sen. James Lankford (R-Oklahoma)
- Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming)
- Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky)
- Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas)
- Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky)
- Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho)
- Sen. Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota)
- Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida)
- Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska)
- Sen. Rick Scott (R-Florida)
- Sen. Tim Scott (R-South Carolina)
- Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama)
- Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota)
- Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi)
- Sen. Todd Young (R-Indiana)
Here are the senators who did not vote:
- Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee)
- Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
- Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania)
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