In Focus: Vote Confirming Acosta Is Scheduled for Today

By Allen Smith, J.D. Apr 27, 2017

A far less controversial secretary of labor nominee than Andrew Puzder, Alexander Acosta's confirmation is expected in the Senate later this week. The Senate on April 26 cleared Acosta's nomination for a final up-or-down vote later in the week, reports The Washington Post. The vote to end debate on the nomination assures a full Senate vote on Acosta will be held within 30 hours, notes the Washington Examiner.

Acosta Has Government Experience

Acosta already has served in three presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed positions. He is a former assistant attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice's civil rights division and a former National Labor Relations Board member. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Acosta will, if confirmed, be the first Latino to serve in President Donald Trump's cabinet. While a U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, he targeted white-collar crime.

(SHRM Online)

Scrutiny of Overtime, Job Training Programs

The Obama administration overtime rule, which a judge blocked in November 2016, should be revisited to change the salary threshold level to $33,000, Acosta said during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. He also expressed interest in revisiting the effectiveness of Department of Labor (DOL) job training programs. "Programs have to be shown to be good. They can't just sound good," he said.

(SHRM Online)

Review of Appeal of Overtime Litigation

Once confirmed, Acosta will first decide whether the DOL will continue to appeal the November 2016 federal court decision that halted the Obama-era rule on overtime pay. The regulation was scheduled to take effect Dec. 1, 2016, and would have doubled the Fair Labor Standards Act's salary threshold for exemption from overtime pay from $23,660 to $47,476.

(SHRM Online)

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Determining Overtime Eligibility in the United States]

Partisan Vote

Despite his track record, which made him a welcome choice according to the Society for Human Resource Management, the vote to end debate over Acosta and move his nomination ahead to a floor vote was largely on partisan lines with only nine Democrats voting to halt debate. (Washington Examiner)


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