Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Confirmation Vote On Boston Mayor Marty Walsh To Be Secretary Of Labor

March 22, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the Senate’s vote today to confirm Mayor Marty Walsh as Secretary of Labor. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Tonight, the Senate will confirm Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston to serve as the Secretary of Labor. The son of Irish immigrants, Mayor Walsh followed his father’s footsteps in construction and joined the Laborers' Union Local 223 at age 21, eventually serving as its president before being elected Mayor of Boston.

During his testimony here in the Senate, Mayor Walsh said that it was by joining a union that his parents were able to climb up into the middle class and give their son a shot at a better life. We have something in common. My grandfather came to the United States and became very involved with the labor movement. One day, when he was 14, it was raining and he was looking for shelter. He was poor, had almost nowhere to live. He walked into the labor temple, where he heard Eugene V. Debs and Will and Ariel Durant give the annual address at that temple established by the AFL to teach the immigrants about the union movement.

So we have that in common. Our grandfathers are immigrants—one from Ireland, one from Eastern Europe—but both joined the labor movement, and it helped their family move up.

The Department of Labor is in desperate need of a leader with Mayor Walsh’s perspective. For the past four years, under President Trump and Secretary Scalia, unfortunately, sadly, the Labor Department has too often sided with Corporate America, not the working people of America who it was formed to help.

Once the Senate confirms Mayor Walsh, American workers will finally have one of their own leading the Department of Labor—someone from working America who will fight for working America.

And I am proud to say that once Mayor Walsh is confirmed tonight, the Senate will have confirmed all 15 of President Biden’s cabinet secretaries. Under extraordinary circumstances and unusual responsibilities—a later-than-usual runoff election, an evenly divided chamber, an insurrection, an impeachment trial, and passage of historic federal relief—the Senate has still stayed on track and confirmed President Biden’s cabinet faster than both of the last two administrations.

Let me say that again: with everything else going on, this Senate has confirmed President Biden’s cabinet faster than during both of the prior two administrations. One a Democrat, one a Republican.

And every single member of President Biden’s cabinet has received a bipartisan vote in favor of their confirmation. I anticipate that the vote in favor of Mayor Walsh will stay true to form, completing an unblemished record of bipartisan confirmations to the cabinet.

Few cabinets, Madam President, in history have begun their tenures with such daunting tasks—a once-in-a-century pandemic, an economy in the doldrums, global challenges like climate change and democratic decline. Thankfully, this Senate has made sure President Biden’s cabinet is in place and on the job as quickly as possible.

And we will continue the personnel business this week by installing the Deputy Director at OMB, the Surgeon General, the Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Deputy Secretaries at Energy and Treasury.