Confirmation delays may slow Biden admin farmworker efforts


By Steve Davies, Agri-Pulse



The office in the Labor Department that oversees and enforces the H-2A guest worker program will continue to be without a leader for the foreseeable future, which could hamper the Biden administration’s efforts to provide more protections for farmworkers.


David Weil, the nominee to head the Wage and Hour Division, was forced to withdraw his nomination last month after Senate Democrats failed to muster enough votes to defeat a cloture motion. Three Dems joined Republicans on the 53-47 vote: Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly of Arizona.


While other Biden nominees had withdrawn in the face of Senate opposition, Weil’s nomination was the first to be scuttled by a Senate vote. Opposition was led by the International Franchise Association, which said Weil, who was WHD administrator during the Obama administration, was “biased” against franchises, something Weil hotly disputes.


The IFA, along with Associated Builders and Contractors, the National Restaurant Association and a dozen other groups, said they believed that Weil, “will, if confirmed again, once more use the power of the DOL beyond congressional intent to enact policies that will harm workers and small businesses during the economic recovery.”


“They said I was going to conduct a war on franchising as I did the first time and it's just a bunch of hogwash,” he said in an interview with Agri-Pulse.


Weil, who is dean of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, was referring to his time as administrator of WHD from 2014-2017, when the division "significantly increased its efforts to enforce wage and hour laws," Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chair Patty Murray, D-Wash., said at Weil's confirmation hearing last year...


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