Trump nominates ex-NLRB member Acosta as Labor secretary

President Donald J. Trump named former National Labor Relations Board member R. Alexander Acosta as his new nominee for Labor secretary.

Feb 16, 2017 @ 3:00 pm

By Bloomberg News

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President Donald J. Trump named former National Labor Relations Board member R. Alexander Acosta as his new nominee for labor secretary, the first Hispanic he has chosen for his cabinet.

Mr. Trump said Mr. Acosta will be "a tremendous secretary of labor."

Mr. Acosta replaces Mr. Trump's first nominee for the position, Andy Puzder, who withdrew his name Wednesday amid controversy over his personal life and business background.

Mr. Acosta served as assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division under President George W. Bush and was U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida. He once clerked for then-Appeals Court judge Justice Samuel Alito.

He is currently the dean of Florida International University and the chairman of U.S. Century Bank.

He met with Trump Wednesday evening, a White House official said.

(More: Awaiting new Labor secretary, staff takes on larger role in fiduciary rule's fate.)

"He's intense, hardworking, but I think in contrast to Mr. Puzder, he's going to get things done more quietly," said Tammy McCutcheon, who served as administrator of the Wage and Hour Division of the Labor Department during the Bush administration. "He will be quietly efficient. I don't think you'll see a lot of difference in his policy positions from Puzder."

Mr. Puzder, a fast-food executive who had been scheduled for a Senate confirmation hearing Thursday, ran into trouble in the Senate over his admission that he employed an undocumented housekeeper. Also shadowing his nomination were divorce-court proceedings that included a domestic-abuse allegation. Some conservatives had questioned his pro-immigration stance.

In the 52-48 Senate, three Republican defections would have doomed Mr. Puzder if all 48 Democrats voted to deny him, and as many as a dozen GOP senators had indicated they wouldn't back the nomination.

Mr. Puzder is head of the fast-food conglomerate CKE Restaurants Inc. that includes Carl's Jr. and Hardee's. His withdrawal came after a week that saw party-line confirmations in the Senate and a tie-breaking vote cast by Vice President Mike Pence to confirm Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. That 51-50 tally was the first time a vice president ever broke a tie on a cabinet nomination.

Mr. Trump has already lost one senior member of his administration. He dismissed Mike Flynn as national security adviser on Monday because the administration said he may have misled the president and vice president about his communications with a Russian envoy.

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