By Michael A. Fletcher
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Rep. Hilda L. Solis (D-Calif.) took a big step toward becoming President Obama's labor secretary yesterday when a Senate committee voted to send her nomination to the full Senate.
Senators could vote on her long-stalled nomination this week.
The vote by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee ended weeks of delay in considering the nomination. Committee Republicans had raised objections about what they saw as Solis's unresponsive answers during her confirmation hearing. Then there were questions about her work on the board of the pro-labor group American Rights at Work, followed by revelations that her husband had recently settled tax liens filed against his auto repair business.
A scheduled committee vote was abruptly called off last week after news surfaced that her husband, Sam Sayyad, paid about $6,400 to settle outstanding tax liens against his business.
White House officials said Solis was not involved in the business and had been unaware of the liens. And Sayyad planned to challenge the liens, which were for business taxes he thought he had already paid, the White House said. Republicans spent several days reviewing documents related to the liens before deciding to let the committee vote proceed.
The committee meeting took just two minutes, as members approved Solis's nomination by a voice vote, according to Anthony Coley, a spokesman for the committee chairman, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.).