A Senate committee vote on the confirmation of Labor nominee Thomas Perez was postponed after Republicans said they planned to invite a witness from a contentious whistleblower case to testify at a separate hearing Thursday.
The vote had been scheduled Thursday, but is now set for May 8. The hearing has been postponed until further notice.
Committee Chairman Sen. Tom Harkin ( D-Iowa) says he decided on the delay to give members more time to consider Perez’s nomination. One of his aides said the hearing was postponed to avoid “political shenanigans” by GOP lawmakers.
The hearing, slated for the Subcommittee on Employment & Workplace Safety, was unrelated to the committee’s Perez vote, but Democrats feared that by inviting the whistleblower, Republicans were trying to use it to thwart Perez’s confirmation.
Republicans believe Perez, currently Civil Rights Division chief at the Department of Justice, in an attempt to get a favorable Supreme Court ruling in a separate case, essentially bargained away the administration’s support for a lawsuit filed by whistleblower Frederick Newell against the City of St. Paul. Newell has slammed Perez for saying his case had no merit.