President Names DOL Nominee With Deeper Labor Ties

Whoever takes on the role of DOL Secretary will be tasked with overseeing the Trump administration’s response to the forthcoming fiduciary rule reforms. 

By John Manganaro | February 17, 2017
Page 1 of 2

Days after the surprise withdrawal of Andrew Puzder as President Trump’s Labor Secretary nominee, the White House is now confirming their new pick for the job, former member of the National Labor Relations Board R. Alexander Acosta.

Acosta is currently Dean of Florida International University Law School, and the Trump administration is highlighting his “long and distinguished career in public service.” Compared with the previous pick, the initial response to the nomination of Acosta has been far more positive, both on the left and the right of the political spectrum.

Background information shared by the White House notes that Acosta has served in three Senate-confirmed positions, including as a member of the National Labor Relations Board. He was the first Hispanic man or women to hold the rank of Assistant Attorney General and went on to serve as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Since 2013, Acosta has also served as Chairman of U.S. Century Bank, the largest domestically owned Hispanic community bank in Florida. Media outlets have widely noted that Acosta, if confirmed, would be the first and only Hispanic member of the president’s cabinet.

President Trump actually began the first solo press conference of his term by naming Acosta as his new nominee. He quickly moved on to other subjects, but the president observed the following of Acosta, as recounted in the official White House transcript of the presser: “He has a law degree from Harvard Law School, was a great student.  Former clerk for Justice Samuel Alito.  And he has had a tremendous career.  He's a member, and has been a member, of the National Labor Relations Board, and has been through Senate confirmation three times, confirmed—did very, very well.  And so Alex, I've wished him the best.  We just spoke.  And he's going to be—I think he'll be a tremendous Secretary of Labor.”

Interesting to note, the retirement industry is apparently being a little more cautious this time around about sharing in speculations as to who will finally fill the DOL Secretary role—and when. This is only natural, as so far the effort to fill the leadership role at the agency tasked with enforcing the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) has been a rocky effort, with multiple last-minute delays in scheduled confirmation hearings and the outright failure of the first nominee to get through a Senate controlled by Republican allies.

NEXT: Very different response from Puzder