Julie Su, President Joe Biden’s pick to head the Department of Labor, is slated to testify before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on April 20. In the meantime, workers across the country might check out how other Biden nominees have fared.
Phillip Washington, Biden’s pick to head the Federal Aviation Administration, has withdrawn his name from nomination. The White House official attributed the action to “an onslaught of unfounded Republican attacks.” Those who watched his March 1 hearing have cause to wonder.
Washington, who was part of the Biden transition team, was unable to answer basic aviation safety questions such as: What are the operational limitations of a pilot flying under “basic med?” What causes an aircraft to spin or stall? What are the six types of special-use airspace that appear on FAA charts? What are the three types of certifications the FAA requires as part of the manufacturing process?
First nominated last July, Washington had plenty of time to prepare for the hearing. By all appearances, he failed to study up on aviation safety in general and FAA policy in particular. That challenges Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s description of the Biden pick as an “excellent nominee” and a victim of partisan attacks.
The Biden White House also advanced a curious nominee for comptroller of the currency in the Department of the Treasury. Saule Omarova is a native of the former Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic and a graduate of Moscow State University, which she attended on a “Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship.”
In 2019, nearly 30 years after the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics collapsed, Omarova wrote, “Say what you will about old USSR, there was no gender pay gap there. Market doesn’t always ‘know best.’” There was also no freedom of speech there, but, in Omarova’s view, government officials know best.
Until I came to the US, I couldn’t imagine that things like gender pay gap still existed in today’s world. Say what you will about old USSR, there was no gender pay gap there. Market doesn’t always “know best.” https://t.co/vvnx9DZICN
— Saule Omarova (@STOmarova) March 31, 2019
In “The People’s Ledger: How to Democratize Money and Finance the Economy,” published in 2020, Omarova set forth the vision of “how democratizing access to central bank money would — and should — transform and democratize the entire financial system.” The paper offers a “blueprint for a comprehensive restructuring of the central bank balance sheet as the basis for redesigning the core architecture of modern finance.”
The Lenin Scholar wanted to essentially eliminate independent banks and have the Federal Reserve control every American’s money. Some senators found this profoundly troubling, and Omarova withdrew. Biden claimed that Omarova “would have brought invaluable insight and perspective to our important work on behalf of the American people.”
According to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown, Omarova was the victim of “a relentless smear campaign reminiscent of red scare McCarthyism,” and so on. In reality, she sought to replicate Soviet banking in America — perhaps the worst economic idea to come along in decades.
Dr. Omarova was one of the most qualified nominees ever for this job.
But because she wasn’t in Wall Street’s pocket, corporate interests and their allies in Congress waged a relentless smear campaign reminiscent of red scare McCarthyism.https://t.co/Eje5pdUzex
— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) December 7, 2021
Embattled Americans have to wonder why Omarova was nominated in the first place. That is also the case with Julie Su, Biden’s pick for labor secretary.
As head of California’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA), Su supported Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5), a veritable declaration against the independence of California workers. The measure primarily targeted independent truckers and rideshare drivers, but there was more to it. AB 5 also limited freelance writers, photographers, and videographers to 35 submissions per publication per year. (RELATED: California Court Rebukes War on Workers)
Su also presided over more than $30 billion in unemployment fraud, including $140 million for at least 20,000 convicts, among them convicted murderers. Fraudsters across the country had a field day bilking California’s Employment Development Department (EDD). Fontrell Antonio Baines of Memphis, Tennessee — also known as rapper “Nuke Bizzle” — posted a video titled “EDD” that bragged about “my swagger for EDD.” As a second rapper says, “You gotta sell cocaine. I just file a claim.” As Nuke Bizzle also explained, “I’m swiping 10K a day. Counting up bills like a CPA.”
“You gotta sell cocaine, I can just file a claim!” pic.twitter.com/P5XTtEH7J8
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) October 20, 2020
Julie Su is popular with fraudsters and convicts but must find favor with the Senate. Whatever she says on April 20, Su’s record challenges Biden’s claim that she is a tested and experienced leader. Nominees for key federal posts should demonstrate sound economics, unimpeachable character, and proven performance for the people — and for workers in particular.
Lloyd Billingsley is a policy fellow with the Oakland, California-based Independent Institute.
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