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Eugene Scalia was sworn in today as the country’s 28th secretary of labor, four days after being confirmed by the United States Senate in a 53-44 party-line vote. Scalia replaces the acting-secretary, Patrick Pizzella, who will resume his role as the deputy secretary after leading the Department of Labor (DOL) since the resignation of former secretary Alexander Acosta in July.
Having worked together at DOL previously during the George W. Bush administration, there would not seem to be a need for the leadership duo to have an extensive transition, which will allow the department to focus its efforts on implementing important regulatory changes that have been underway in the current administration.
In addition to fostering a smooth regulatory process, Scalia’s decades of legal experience, including his stint as DOL’s Solicitor of Labor—the agency’s top lawyer—will provide key understanding of the various laws that the department administers. That background will help ensure that whatever regulations the department promulgates will survive the inevitable legal challenges from unions or other parties.
After a relatively brief period following the Acosta’s resignation, Scalia’s ascension to the helm of DOL today stands in contrast to many other presidential appointees requiring senate confirmation. For the business community, it is good news that a greater leadership gap was unnecessary and that Scalia and his team can get back to work promoting a more balanced labor policy.