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Labor Pick Faces Backlash Over His Aggressive Record

Wall Street Journal (04/18/13) Devlin Barrett; Melanie Trottman

The nomination of Thomas Perez, head of the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, as secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor has sparked a partisan battle. Republicans are concerned that he will be an aggressive regulator based on his track record, while Democrats are praising him as a defender of civil and worker rights. The battle highlights partisan differences in regulating the workplace, as Democrats support beefed up protections for workers and Republicans worry that job growth will be hampered by increased regulation. If confirmed, Perez could play a role in implementing whatever immigration overhaul plan passes, possibly helping to craft rules to bring lower-skilled temporary workers to the U.S. or electronically verify immigration status. A confirmation hearing is scheduled for April 18 at the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.