A bid to advance the nomination of Jose Javier Rodriguez to be an assistant secretary of labor failed to reach the requisite simple majority to invoke cloture and reach a final vote.
Two Democrats — Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) — joined with Republicans to oppose the motion while five members did not vote.
A spokesman for Manchin told POLITICO that Manchin voted against Rodriguez due to “concerns about his political activism and lack of experience.”
Biden first nominated Rodriguez, an attorney and former member of the Florida state legislature, to be the assistant secretary for employment and training at the Labor Department more than two years ago. Rodriquez’s nomination got stuck in a committee deadlock in 2021, which led to Biden renominating him in 2023, according to Bloomberg.
The Senate, narrowly controlled by the Democrats, similarly failed to invoke cloture on a Labor Department nominee in March 2022. Three Democrats joined with all Republicans to stop the advancement of David Weil’s nomination to become chief of the agency’s Wage and Hour Division. Weil withdrew from consideration soon after.
Another Biden pick whose nomination has been tied up in the upper chamber is Julie Su, a deputy who has been working as acting secretary of labor following the departure of former chief Marty Walsh earlier this year.
There have been a few instances in which Biden’s picks to help run other agencies over the past few years have dropped out or been withdrawn in the face of opposition in the Senate. They include National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nominee Ann Carlson, Federal Communications Commission nominee Gigi Sohn, and Federal Aviation Administration nominee Phillip Washington.
In addition, there is Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-AL) months-long “hold” on the Senate’s ability to quickly approve U.S. military nominees in protest against a Pentagon abortion policy.
The majority leader, Schumer, announced in a recent “Dear Colleague” letter that he plans to have the Senate consider a resolution passed by the Rules Committee to end the standoff that has impacted hundreds of general and flag officer nominations. After which, Tuberville told POLITICO that lawmakers may be close to reaching “some kind of resolution.”
Schumer also said in his letter that this week, “the Senate will continue working to confirm President Biden’s diverse and experienced nominees and add more of those nominees to the federal bench.”