Hilda Solis, President Obama’s choice for Secretary of Labor, will not be taking the office any time soon. Republicans have professed concern about Solis’ role as Treasurer for American Rights at Work (ARW), a pro-union advocacy organization. Opponents of Solis’ confirmation have pointed to a potential ethical issue because ARW is a lobbying organization and the Treasurer position requires money handling.
Likely, the real message being sent is the Republican anti-EFCA message. The Employee Fair Choice Act (EFCA) is high on Solis’ priority list. Preventing (or at least delaying) the passage of the EFCA has been a top priority of employee-and-business proponents. The hold on Solis’ confirmation for Secretary is proving to be an effective way to stall the bill and there doesn’t seem to be any indication when the hold might be lifted.
In the meantime, President Obama has asked Edward Hugler to serve as Acting Secretary of Labor until Solis is confirmed. Hugler, a 30-year veteran at the Department of Labor, is currently the deputy assistant secretary for administration.
The news of Hugler’s temporary appointment yesterday came on the same day that Labor turns up its campaign to pressure Congress to speed up its consideration of the EFCA.