Continuing to work through the logjam of executive branch nominees following this week's filibuster agreement, the Senate voted Thursday to confirm Thomas Perez as Secretary of Labor.
The Senate voted 54 to 46 in favor of Perez' confirmation, with the vote coming down strictly along party lines. All of the Senate Democrats voted in favor of his confirmation, while every Republican was opposed.
Perez, who serves as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, will replace Hilda Solis.
"At the Department of Labor, Tom will help us continue to grow our economy, help businesses create jobs, make sure workers have the skills those jobs require, and ensure safe workplaces and economic opportunity for all," President Barack Obama said in a statement.
He added, "I want to thank the Senate once again for agreeing to move forward on Tom and the other nominees who have waited far too long for the yes-or-no votes they deserve."
Republicans agreed to allow votes on several of Obama's executive branch nominees as part of a deal with Democrats to avoid a potentially destructive fight over the use of the filibuster.
However, the party-line vote highlights the continued Republican opposition to Perez that led them to delay the vote on his confirmation for several months.
"Based on the evidence, Tom Perez is more than just some left-wing ideologue - he's a left-wing ideologue who appears perfectly willing to bend the rules to achieve his ends," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., said in remarks on the Senate floor.
He added, "And it's this 'ends justify the means' approach to his work, not simply his ideological passion, that's so worrying to me about Mr. Perez."
Following the vote to confirm Perez, the Senate voted to move forward on Obama's nomination of Gina McCarthy to serve as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
by RTT Staff Writer
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