The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Thomas Perez as labor secretary, ending a nomination battle that had brought national attention to an otherwise obscure civil rights case involving the city of St. Paul.
The 54-to-46 party line vote came after senators reached a deal to avert a GOP filibuster, which had otherwise seemed likely given fierce Republican opposition to President Obama’s labor nomination.
As we’ve noted here before, conservatives in Congress had accused Perez, currently the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the Justice Department, of having bargained away a case accusing St. Paul officials of improperly using federal housing funds in exchange for the city’s decision to drop a housing discrimination case that could theoretically have wreaked havoc with federal civil rights law.
The same tangled legal web also has been used by Senate Republicans opposing the nomination of Minnesota U.S. attorney B. Todd Jones, as permanent director of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Jones’ nomination is not part of the no-filibuster deal, but Minnesota Democrats such as Sen. Amy Klobuchar are holding out hope that the goodwill from the agreement could help with the Jones nomination as well.
Star Tribune Recommends
More From Hot Dish Politics
GOP Party Chairman Keith Downey released a letter to a party committee questioning the judgment and competency of Deputy Chairman Chris Fields just days ahead of the election for party officers in St. Cloud Saturday.
Gov. Mark Dayton said that if the Legislature passes a 'satisfactory' transportation budget bill without a gas tax, he would be inclined to sign it into law.
Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly criticized GOP budget proposals from the House and Senate, which aim to cut millions from her department.
Lawmakers from minority groups try to unify, focus their message.
Hire indicates Nolan may be serious.