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.
More from Star Tribune
More From Hot Dish Politics
As the House prepares to vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act, here's what Minnesota's federal representatives have been saying about the bill.
Minnesota senators sharply questioned federal appeals court judge Neil Gorsuch during Wednesday's Supreme Court confirmation hearings, grilling him on whether he'd be protect the interests of ordinary people over corporations.
Budget targets released Monday include $1.35 billion in tax cuts or credits.
Other business groups like realtors, electric utility Xcel Energy Services, private colleges, tobacco giant Altria, Polymet Mining, health insurers and hospitals contributed to the overall total of $57.7 million to lobby the Legislature, the administration of Gov. Mark Dayton and Metro municipal governments.
Black community leaders and activists are lobbying legislators on a range of bills related to education, jobs and urban agriculture.