Conservative groups rallied Monday to support President Trump‘s nominee to head the Labor Department, fast food magnate Andy Puzder, with a letter urging the Senate to confirm him as quickly as possible. The letter comes after Puzder’s long-delayed hearing was set for Feb. 7.
“We believe a change of labor policy at the federal level is crucial to encourage job creation and spur economic growth. Andrew Puzder would bring a welcome, fresh perspective to the U.S. Labor Department that our country needs. Over the years, he has warned about the harmful impact of overly burdensome workplace regulation, and his firsthand experience dealing with those burdens should prove invaluable in identifying and targeting regulations that do more harm than good,” the letter stated.
The letter’s signers include: Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform; Kent Lassman, president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute; and Adam Brandon, president of FreedomWorks, among others.
Puzder is the chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants, which owns the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. franchises. He has been an outspoken critic of federal regulations in general and in particular the Obama administration’s efforts to extend the Labor Department’s reach. Conservatives say that is exactly why Puzder should be put in charge.
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“By making sure the Labor Department promotes deregulatory policies, Andrew Puzder can foster and encourage the business formation that makes job creation possible. Those are goals that our organizations support and all Americans can get behind,” the letter said.
That expectation has made Puzder’s nomination one of Trump’s more controversial ones, with labor groups and their allies strenuously objecting to him. They have mounted an aggressive PR campaign to stop his nomination.
The Senate was originally set to have its first hearing on Puzder before the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee earlier this month, but it was postponed until February. A Senate source told the Washington Examiner that reason was a scheduling conflict with a hearing for another controversial nominee, Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick to head the Education Department. The Feb. 7 date for Puzder’s hearing was announced late last week.
The delay spurred rumors that Puzder’s nomination may be in trouble. A CNN story earlier this month quoted an unnamed Republican source as saying that Puzder may be getting “cold feet.” Puzder subsequently tweeted that he was looking forward to his hearing. Sources involved in the transition for the administration have flatly disputed the CNN report to the Washington Examiner.
Democrats have nevertheless suggested that the delay means trouble behind the scenes. “This is now the fourth hearing date that has been set for Mr. Puzder, and we have yet to receive any of his required paperwork. If those documents raise more concerns about Mr. Puzder’s record or his ability to lead an agency dedicated to standing up for workers and families, Congress and the public deserve to know what they are,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the committee’s top Democrat.
A source with one group pushing for Puzder’s nomination who requested anonymity conceded that there was some behind-the-scenes nervousness. “Some our folks are obviously getting squirrelly. Whether Trump or Puzder are among them is the question. I just don’t know,” the source said.
This post originally appeared on Washington Examiner