Deputy Labor Secretary Julie Su—a nominee to succeed President Biden’s first Labor Secretary Marty Walsh—recently appeared before the House Education and Workforce Committee under threat of subpoena. 

“Acting Secretary Su, you’re sitting here today only because I informed you that I would issue a subpoena to compel your attendance at this previously agreed to hearing and you reconsidered your cancellation,” Chairwoman Virginia Foxx said

The committee pressed her over the Biden administration’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget asking for an additional $1.5 billion in discretionary spending for the Labor Department. 

The former California Labor and Workforce Development Agency secretary and labor commissioner is under scrutiny for her tenure—including the implementation of the controversial anti-freelancer law California AB5. Californians are now subjected to an ABC test to determine their worker status. The three-prong test, in essence, assumes workers are default employees and not independent contractors. 

Congresswoman Erin Houchin (R-IN) shared her past experience as a 1099 freelance worker and suggested the pending DOL rule is un-American “under our terms of freedom to decide for ourselves and what is best for our families.” 

When questioned by Rep. Kevin Kiley (R-CA), Su repeatedly dodged his questions and distanced herself from her past position on AB5. Yet, in a 2019 interview with CalMatters, she praised the bill for going after supposed worker misclassification:

I often say that the instability that working people face — partly because of misclassification — has resulted in the day labor-ization of our economy. Instead of the steady, consistent, reliable work, people end up basically in odd jobs and you’re hustling all the time, right? So AB 5 is meant to address that kind of misclassification so that we can bring more people who should be under the protection of our labor laws back on that floor.

During the hearing, Ms. Su was also probed about the shoddily implemented “Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights” Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) rule, and COVID relief mismanagement.

As I noted in RealClearPolicy, the ESG rule will further strain 401(k) retirement plans:

The new Labor Department rule may even be in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974, a law that protects and insulates individuals’ retirement accounts from risk like that brought by ESG. Twenty-five attorneys general—led by Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes—allege the Labor Department is inviting more risk by allowing 401(K) managers, in essence, to promote non-monetary benefits in personal investment decisions.

The Acting Labor Secretary, nevertheless, doesn’t have an easy road to Senate confirmation. 

Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jon Tester (D-MT), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), and Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) aren’t committed. Last month, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) asked the Biden administration to find another nominee. 

To learn more about Julie Su’s track record, go HERE.