Senate Panel Delays Vote on Labor Nominee as Husband Settles Tax Liens

A Senate panel has postponed a scheduled vote on the nomination of Hilda Solis as labor secretary amid complaints from some Republicans about her work for a pro-union group.

The delay comes as news surfaced that Solis' husband paid $6,400 Wednesday to settle tax liens against his business that had been outstanding for as long as 16 years.

USA Today reported Thursday that Solis' husband, Sam Sayyad, had 15 outstanding state and county tax liens against him and his auto repair business, totaling $7,630, according to Los Angeles County records. Two other liens worth $981 were released in 1999 after Sayyad repaid the taxes owed, the newspaper reported.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the Obama administration was aware of the story and that Solis' tax returns had been reviewed.

"She's not a partner in that business," he said. "So we're not going to penalize her for her husband's business mistakes. Obviously her husband has and should pay any taxes owed."

Asked later whether the administration had encouraged Sayyad to pay the taxes, Gibbs answered he paid the liens because he owed the taxes.

The Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee said Thursday that lawmakers need more time to review documentation submitted in support of Solis.

Some Republicans have raised questions about her role as treasurer of American Rights at Work, a group pushing for passage of a bill to make it easier for workers to form unions.

Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi, the committee's top Republican, has suggested that Solis should recuse herself for two years from debate over the legislation because of her position with the group.

Solis says her work for the group did not involve any lobbying activities. She serves as its treasurer.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.