WASHINGTON — Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin does not plan to endorse President Joe Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Labor and has sought a slate of alternate nominees, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.
Manchin’s opposition to candidate Julie Su could prove fatal if another senator who caucus with Democrats also opposes her.
After Manchin, DW.Va., met with Su last week, he joined an appeal with the International Franchise Association, which opposes Su’s nomination because of his support for policies that he says organization, would “dismantle the franchise business model”.
“The IFA has suggested several alternatives to … Su in the mold of former secretary Marty Walsh, who received bipartisan support and brought parties together,” an IFA spokesperson told NBC News in a press release sent by e-mail.
Su is currently acting labor secretary and was nominated by Biden to succeed Marty Walsh, who stepped down this year to lead the National Hockey League Players’ Association. In 2021, she was confirmed by a margin of three votes for Undersecretary of Labor in the face of unanimous Republican opposition.
The IFA spokesperson also said the group had offered alternatives to “a number of senators”, several of whom have yet to publicly reveal their intentions on Su.
Democratic-turned-independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona was on the same call with Manchin, according to two sources.
Manchin met with Su for nearly 45 minutes on May 3, later telling reporters it was “very good” and “respectful,” but that he had yet to decide how he intended to vote for his nomination. When asked if he had a timeline for when he would make up his mind, Manchin said no.
“There are still things, there are still things that I have to check,” Manchin said at the time. “We go through some things. We had a good dialogue.
Manchin typically looks for alternatives and presents them to the Senate leadership when announcing his opposition to a candidate, a source told NBC News.
It’s unclear at this point if Manchin will announce his intention not to support Su. A source with knowledge of the matter told NBC News that Manchin has yet to declare his position because he is waiting for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to return to work after suffering health issues. Feinstein should support Su.
Manchin is also waiting for the possibility of Sinema supporting Su, the source added.
When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Manchin said the senator “has not announced his position on this nomination and will not comment on rumors.”
A spokeswoman for Sinema did not say whether she plans to support Su.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., has not publicly announced when a vote on Su’s nomination will take place in the Senate, and senators are not expected to be back in session until Memorial Day. .
Schumer’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday evening.
In the tightly divided Senate, if Manchin were to vote against Su, just one more defection from his side of the aisle could defeat his nomination. It’s unclear where other moderate Democrats like the senses. Mark Kelly of Arizona and Jon Tester of Montana, as well as Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, stand on Su’s nomination.
Manchin, Sinema, King, Kelly and Tester have all backed her for the deputy position in 2021.
Outside of Washington, business groups in West Virginia and Arizona — the home states of Manchin, Kelly and Sinema — sent letters to their senators urging them to oppose Su just before his confirmation hearing. in April before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
On Friday night, a White House official told NBC News that “Su is continuing the work that she and Secretary Walsh started and we continue to push for [her] Confirmation of the Senate.