Senate vote on candidate EBSA fails

Just when it looked like labor attorney Lisa Gomez could finally be confirmed as head of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) — after waiting nearly a year — it seems her waiting will continue.

The US Senate voted 49-51 on June 8 against his nomination in a vote close to the party line. When it became clear that Senate Democrats did not have enough votes to confirm Gomez, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) voted “no” to his nomination, which will allow him to bring it back for a second vote. When the vote took place, Vice President Kamala Harris was not in Washington and therefore could not be there to vote in the event of a tie.

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who voted for Gomez during her nomination review by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, voted ‘no’ when the nomination reached the entire Senate.

In a statement after the vote, Senate HELP Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) said, “I fully support the appointment of Lisa Gomez to lead EBSA and I am confident that she is the right person for the job. Today’s vote shows that we will finally have the votes we need to confirm this highly qualified candidate – and I look forward to doing so as soon as possible.

President Biden announced Gomez’s nomination in July 2021, but she had to be reappointed in January 2022 after the Senate adjourned for the year without considering her nomination. She also had to be reviewed again by the Senate HELP committee, which first held a hearing on her nomination last October. His nomination was apparently blocked after several Republican senators demanded more information about his views on ESG investing.

And when it looked like she might finally get a vote in April, two Senate Democrats and Vice President Harris tested positive for COVID, forcing the Senate to delay a vote on her nomination due to the narrow margin of Democrats in the Senate.

Gomez is a partner at the law firm of Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP, representing employer and union pension plans. She joined the firm in 1994, became a partner in 2002 and currently chairs the firm’s management committee.

Andrew B. Reiter