Senate confirms Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as Labor secretary

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh testifies on his nomination as Labor secretary before the Senate labor committee on February 4. File photo by Graeme Jennings/UPI/Pool

March 23 (UPI) — The Senate on Monday confirmed Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as Secretary of Labor, completing the list of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet nominees to be approved.

With its 68-29 vote, the Senate made Walsh the first former union leader to run the Labor Department in more than 40 years, putting him in charge of the agency amid historic levels of unemployment and an uneven recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Walsh was the final Cabinet-level Biden Administration official to be confirmed by the Senate following last week’s approvals of Xavier Becerra as Health and Human Services secretary, Katherine Tai as U.S. Trade Representative, Isabel Guzman as the leader of the Small Business Administration and Deb Haaland as interior secretary.

In a farewell address to city employees at Boston’s Faneuil Hall Monday, the two-term mayor expressed his gratitude to Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and vowed to help them build an economy “that works for every single American.”

“I spent my entire career fighting for working people and I’m eager to continue that fight in Washington,” he said.

“His story reminds me of my own family,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wrote in a tweet. “His parents from Ireland, my grandfather from Eastern Europe, we both have family backgrounds of immigrants who joined the labor movement in the U.S, to help their families.”

Unlike some of Biden’s other picks, Walsh’s nomination gained broad bipartisan support.

“Mayor Walsh has the background, the skills and the awareness for the need of balance in conversations between labor and management,” Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., said on the Senate floor Monday.

Burr is the ranking GOP member on the Senate labor committee.


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