Department of Labor nominee ‘worst choice,’ congressman says

March 17, 2023

Mark Schremmer


The nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Labor is “the worst choice the president could have possibly made,” a member of Congress says.

In an interview with Land Line Now, Rep. Kevin Kiley, R-Calif., spoke out about his opposition to Julie Su as the next labor secretary. Su is currently the Labor Department’s deputy secretary.

Kiley, who served in the California legislature for six years before joining the House of Representatives this year, is critical of Su’s tenure as California Labor Commissioner and the role she played in the handling of the state’s unemployment system as well as the creation of Assembly Bill 5.


“Her tenure was one of the worst tenures I’m sure there has ever been for any such position in our country’s history,” Kiley told Land Line Now. “She completely failed to run the unemployment office in California in a way that gave people the benefits that they were entitled to when millions of people lost their jobs because of the COVID shutdowns. You had millions of people who got their checks late or had to wait weeks or months, or in some cases, indefinitely.”

According to the Sacramento Bee, California’s Employment Development Department was heavily criticized for how it handled claims and that payments were delayed for an estimated 5 million workers during the pandemic. In addition, the federal benefit programs for COVID were “riddled with fraud,” and an estimated $20 billion of lost claims occurred in California alone.

Opponents to Su’s nomination also point to her role in California’s AB5, a controversial worker classification law that makes it difficult for workers in the state to be considered independent contractors. The law has received great opposition from truck drivers and numerous freelance workers from a variety of industries.

“There is a lot of competition for bad laws in California, but I think it is one of the worst laws that has been passed in our country’s history,” Kiley said. “It simply has put thousands and thousands of people out of work in California and destroyed their careers and taken away their right to make a living by saying they’re not allowed to be their own boss. Instead, you need to be in the employ of someone else, which is not the preferred model for those who choose to be independent contractors.”

OOIDA also opposes Su

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which is currently fighting California’s AB5 in court, recently sent a letter to the Senate in opposition of Su’s nomination to lead the Department of Labor.

OOIDA said that AB5 and the “haphazard” rollout forced independent contractor truckers to either leave the state, become an employee, attempt to reconfigure their business or abandon the profession.

“We are concerned that Ms. Su would continue to pursue an ideologically motivated agenda toward worker classification that ignores the thousands of small-business truckers who depend on the ability to work as an independent contractor,” OOIDA wrote. “Make no mistake, if Ms. Su were to advance the same policies that she championed in California, it would force hundreds of thousands of truckers to change their business model and put their livelihood in jeopardy.”

What’s next?

Biden formally submitted Su’s nomination to the Senate earlier this week. As of March 17, the date of the hearing had not been announced. The road to confirmation could be a difficult one as Su narrowly became deputy labor secretary by a 50-47 vote in July 2021.

Although Kiley does not have a vote, the congressmen said he will be doing everything he can to make sure Su is not confirmed.

“I’m doing my best to make sure that adequate scrutiny is being given,” Kiley said. “I’m doing everything I can to inform people in D.C. about the havoc that she wreaked in California. In fact, she received a lot of bipartisan criticism in California.

“I think if we can just get the word out about what her tenure was in California and the damage that she did here, then we will have a good chance of stopping this nomination and getting a much better person in this position.” LL

The entire Kiley interview will be included in an upcoming episode of Land Line Now