Union Leaders Press GOP for Vote on Labor Nominee

Labor unions on Friday accused Republicans of deliberately stalling the confirmation of Labor Secretary nominee Hilda Solis for political reasons, as the White House tried to put to rest the tax questions that held up her confirmation vote.

The largest U.S labor federation, the AFL-CIO, along with other unions, women's and Hispanic groups, began calling and writing lawmakers Friday, urging them to confirm the California congresswoman.

"Enough is enough," AFL-CIO president John Sweeney said in a strongly worded statement that warned Republican senators "to stop obstructing and confirm Rep. Solis now."

Solis' nomination had already been delayed for nearly a month when a newspaper reported Thursday that unpaid tax liens on a California auto repair business owned by Solis' husband were settled this week for about $6,400.

That led Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to postpone their scheduled vote on her nomination.

"This was a joint decision made by the leaders of the committee to allow Senators additional time to review the documents," said Michael Mahaffey, a spokesman for Sen. Mike Enzi, the committee's top Republican.

White House officials say they do not expect the tax lien issue to scuttle Solis's chances. Union leaders claim Solis already would have been approved were it not for Republican posturing.

Some Republican lawmakers have questioned Solis' role as a board member and treasurer of American Rights at Work, a group pushing federal legislation that would make it easier for workers to organize unions.

Enzi has spent weeks asking Solis for detailed written answers about her work with the group and suggested that Solis recuse herself from debate over the Employee Free Choice Act.

Solis insists she will not stay out of the debate. Unions consider Enzi's questions a thinly veiled effort to engage Democrats early on what is expected to be a major fight over the union-backed measure.