The Senate voted along party lines in support of the former Labor Department solicitor under President George W. Bush.
The Senate on Thursday voted 53-44 to confirm Eugene Scalia to be Labor secretary.
Scalia is a partner at the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee voted 12-11 to advance his nomination on Tuesday.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, argued on the Senate floor before the vote that Scalia should not be confirmed because he has “fought over and over to stop workplace protections, to undermine worker safety, [and] depress workers’s wages” as well as “repeatedly defended companies against whistleblowers.”
But Republican supporters noted Scalia’s successes as the Labor Department solicitor under President George W. Bush and as a private sector attorney. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said on Tuesday, “Business and workers need a secretary of Labor who will steer the department with a steady hand and I believe Mr. Scalia can do so.”
Patrick Pizzella has been serving as the Labor Department’s acting secretary since Alexander Acosta’s resignation in July following criticism of how Acosta handled the plea deal of late sex offender and billionaire Jeffrey Epstein in 2008. President Trump announced his intent to nominate Scalia in July via Twitter, formally submitted his intent in late August and then officially sent the nomination to the Senate on Sept. 11.