After nearly seven weeks of scrutinizing her background and policy positions, the Senate confirmed Rep. Hilda Solis, D-California, as Secretary of Labor on Tuesday, February 24. The 80-17 vote came after Solis explained her role as an unpaid treasurer for American Rights at Work, a nonprofit organization, and her husband paid about $6,400 in tax liens against his auto repair business.
Republicans held up Solis’ confirmation process over concerns about a conflict of interest between Solis’ role with the advocacy group and her support of legislation that it sought to pass, including a bill that would make it easier for workers to organize.
Republicans also slowed Solis’ nomination to get answers to follow-up questions from her January 9 nomination hearing. At that meeting, she avoided stating a position on the unionization bill, the Employee Free Choice Act, and several other policies. Even her written responses didn’t fully satisfy Republicans, who felt she dodged legitimate questions relating to the Employee Free Choice Act, right-to-work laws, employment standards and overtime regulations. While in the House, Solis was a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act, as President Barack Obama was while serving in the Senate. The AFL-CIO gave her voting record a 97 percent rating.