Biden nominees for education and labor posts approved by U.S. Senate panel

    Miguel Cardona speaks after President Joe Biden announced him as his nominee for Education Secretary at the Queen theatre on December 23, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images).

    WASHINGTON — Miguel Cardona was one step closer to leading the U.S. Department of Education on Thursday after the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee moved his nomination to the full Senate for a vote.

    The panel voted 17-5.

    Senators also voted 18-4 to advance the nomination of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to serve as secretary of the Department of Labor.

    The HELP Committee’s ranking member, Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, said he was pleased with Cardona’s hearing earlier this month and is confident that the former educator from Connecticut will help the Biden administration safely open schools.

    President Joe Biden has stated that one of his goals in his first 100 days as president is to get teachers and students back to in-person learning.

    “Dr. Cardona has the background, qualifications, and temperament to serve as secretary of Education,” Burr said.

    During his confirmation hearing, Cardona said that teachers should be a priority in receiving vaccines and that it will be important for schools to partner with health officials when moving to reopen schools.

    Several Republicans who voted against his nomination, such as Sens. Roger Marshall of Kansas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, had pressed Cardona about whether he would support transgender girls competing with female atheletes in high school sports.

    The panel’s chairwoman, Sen. Patty Murray, a Washington Democrat, said she looked forward to voting in the full Senate on Cardona’s nomination.

    “Dr. Cardona is a proven, collaborative leader, a champion for public schools, and an excellent choice to lead the Department of Education through the challenges ahead,” she said.

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    Ariana Figueroa
    Ariana covers the nation's capital for States Newsroom. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections and campaign finance. Before joining States Newsroom, Ariana covered public health and chemical policy on Capitol Hill for E&E News. As a Florida native, she's worked for the Miami Herald and her hometown paper, the Tampa Bay Times. Her work has also appeared in the Chicago Tribune and NPR. She is a graduate of the University of Florida.