White House confirms 3 Obama cabinet members staying as Labor Secretary Hilda Solis becomes latest to resign

Published January 10, 2013

| FoxNews.com

The White House confirmed Wednesday that at least three members of the president's cabinet are staying on for a second term after Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced she is calling it quits. 

Solis, a long-time member of the president's inner circle, handed in her resignation Wednesday afternoon. 

The White House was quick to point out that three Cabinet members were staying put: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Attorney General Eric Holder and Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

An official told the Associated Press the three remaining officials were not an exhaustive list of which Cabinet members intended to stay.

Obama issued a statement Wednesday praising Solis as a “tireless champion for working families.”

"Over the last four years, Secretary Solis has been a critical member of my economic team as we have worked to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and strengthen the economy for the middle class," Obama said.

While it is common for presidents to reshuffle their Cabinet members and economic teams in their second term some of the president’s picks to stay have been criticized. 

Members of the GOP have questioned the attorney general’s handling of Operation Fast and Furious, an anti-gun-running investigation gone awry. Holder, who served in the Justice Department during the Clinton administration, has also dealt  with  civil rights and terrorism cases during his rocky tenure.

He ordered a review of CIA interrogations during the Bush era amid disclosures that agency interrogators once threatened to kill a Sept. 11 suspect's children and suggested another would be forced to watch his mother be sexually assaulted. The outcome of the exhaustive inquiry -- it lasted three years and resulted in no criminal charges -- prompted more criticism, this time from human rights groups.

Sebelius, a former Kansas governor and insurance commissioner, had been widely expected to stay on to shepherd Obama's health care overhaul to its fulfillment. Shinseki dealt with problems ranging from homeless veterans, rising troop suicides and veteran unemployment and growing mental health care needs.

As one of the highest-ranking Hispanics in Obama's administration, Solis has won praise from labor unions for aggressive enforcement of wage and hour laws and job safety regulations. But business groups have criticized her as not taking a more cooperative approach.

 "Leaving the department is one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made, because I have taken our mission to heart," Solis said. "As the daughter of parents who worked in factories, paid their union dues and achieved their goal of a middle-class life, and as the first Latina to head a major federal agency, it has been an incredible honor to serve."

Solis said she is proud that 1.7 million people have completed federally funded job training programs under her tenure. Her agency oversaw the spending of about $67 billion for unemployment insurance benefits, job training and other job placement and worker protection programs under Obama's economic stimulus package.

On Thursday, it is expected that Obama will tap his chief of staff and former budget director, Jacob Lew, to be his next Treasury Secretary.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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