LatinaLista — Finally, after two months, Congresswoman Hilda Solis has been confirmed as the nation’s new Labor Secretary. Of all the Cabinet positions in Obama’s administration, Solis was the last one to be confirmed who was an original Obama selection.
New Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis
Her confirmation was opposed by 17 versus 80 who voted for her. Among those who were most vocal about their opposition towards her were Republicans. Their complaints regarding her was that she didn’t answer their questions regarding Right to Work.
The real reason they were opposed to Solis’ confirmation was because she has steadfastly shown to be an advocate for the worker, and not big business.
An idea that is going to take some getting used to in Washington.
Congresswoman Solis has probably already been sworn in and news is that she starts work tomorrow.
The first issues she has pledged to address are an increase in oversight of wage and hour laws, worker safety regulations and rules covering overtime pay and pay discrimination.
Now, we would think that every Congressional representative would want that for their constituents. After all, not everybody can draw the kinds of guaranteed salaries members of Congress do:
Members of Congress will earn an annual salary of $174,000 in 2009. Party leaders make more; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will get $223,500 this year, while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) and Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) will earn $193,400 each.
Yet, we are to believe that those Republicans who opposed Solis’ nomination did so because they had the best interest of the people at heart?
Even while big businesses are slashing payrolls, laying off people who only have a few months left to retire, slashing healthcare benefits, freezing 401s and shortening paychecks and work weeks.
Doesn’t quite make sense.
It’s the same kind of “best interest” opposition we saw exhibited by Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn against Hillary Clinton’s confirmation as Secretary of State. He was the lone opposition against her confirmation.
Now, though everyone agrees that incurring more debt is the least desirable way to go to help our faltering economy, Republican politicians are yet taking public stands to say how much they oppose this stimulus bill and how President Obama isn’t really interested in bi-partisanship.
Yet, what the Republican Party fails to understand is that this crisis is a new kind of 9-11 for our country. Except, it’s not just our nation that is under attack but the world’s economic system that is melting. There are reports from the United Kingdom to Hong Kong where those economists being interviewed are all saying the same thing — the world is waiting to see what the United States does because it’s our actions that will lead the way to solving the global crisis.
As a columnist for the Financial Times of London wrote:
The world now needs change it can believe in. Only Barack Obama, the US president, can provide the desired leadership: he is untainted, popular and leader of the country that, for good and ill, remains central.
Yet, unlike 9-11, this Congress isn’t uniting. Their internal squabbles and barnyard posturing to make themselves look like rulers of the Washington roost are deplorable at a time that is in every way equal to the terror that was imposed on this country on 9-11.
There may not be a huge body count but there is a huge unemployment count that only continues to grow. Families are going homeless, parents are so desperate about the loss of their jobs that they are committing family suicides, animals are being abandoned in record numbers and research shows that what happens to animals also eventually happens to children.
This is a crisis that calls for Congressional unity.
It’s a shame that these Republicans are too focused on trying to maintain some remnant of a failed administration and can’t put the best interest of not just the United States ahead of their own, but the best interest of the world.