Sanders calls Eugene Scalia's Labor Dept. confirmation 'obscene'

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) blasted Eugene ScaliaEugene ScaliaAppeals court rejects AFL-CIO lawsuit over lack of COVID-19 labor protections On The Money: Key Democrat accuses Labor chief of ‘misleading’ testimony | Warren urges bank regulator to scrap anti-redlining rule rewrite | Senators press IG to act to prevent nursing homes from seizing coronavirus checks Key Democrat accuses Labor head of ‘misleading’ testimony on jobless benefits MORE on Thursday after he was confirmed by the Senate to lead the Department of Labor, calling his nomination “obscene.”

Sanders noted in a tweet that Scalia, the son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, previously worked in legal and lobbying roles on behalf of major companies such as Facebook and investment bank Goldman Sachs before he was tapped to join the Trump administration.

“As a corporate lawyer and lobbyist, Eugene Scalia made millions working for Chevron, Goldman Sachs, Facebook and other huge corporations, helping them undermine health and safety regulations,” Sanders tweeted. 

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“So naturally he’s Trump’s pick to lead the Labor Department. Obscene,” he added. 

The Senate voted earlier Thursday to confirm Scalia to replace former Labor Secretary Alexander AcostaAlex Alexander AcostaAppeals court finds prosecutors’ secret plea agreement with Epstein didn’t break law Florida sheriff ends work release program criticized over Jeffery Epstein The Hill’s Morning Report — Presented by National Association of Manufacturers — Whistleblower complaint roils Washington MORE, who left the department amid questions over his role in a 2008 plea deal for disgraced financier and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

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The vote was 53-44 and along party lines, with Sanders among three senators who did not vote Thursday, the others being fellow Democratic presidential candidates Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (D-Mass.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-N.J.).

Sanders was on the campaign trail during the vote. A spokesperson noted his vote against Scalia would not have changed the outcome of the nominee’s confirmation in the GOP-led Senate. The aide noted that Sanders previously voted by proxy against Scalia in committee.

During a confirmation hearing last week, Democrats raised questions about Scalia’s positions on LGBT and disability rights. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved Scalia for Labor chief earlier this week, sending his nomination to the full Senate.

A Labor Department spokesperson said the department could not comment on Sanders’s tweet Thursday.

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