After high-profile attempts to block cabinet nominees Betsy DeVos and Tom Price fell short, Democrats have set their sights on Department of Labor pick Andy Puzder, whose confirmation hearings are set to begin Thursday.
Puzder, seen as a stanch supporter of regulatory rollbacks, could have a major influence on the implementation of the DOL’s fiduciary rule going forward, which has Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, in particular, questioning his qualifications and temperament for the position.
Warren, the evergreen thorn in the side of the Trump Administration, “fired off a 28-page letter with 83 questions for Puzder, the chief executive of CKE Restaurants, which runs fast food chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., ahead of his Feb. 16 confirmation hearing,” according to the Boston Globe.
But there’s little chance his answers will satisfy Warren, the paper adds.
“My staff’s review of your 16-year tenure …reveals that you’ve made your fortune by squeezing the very workers you’d be charged with protecting as Labor Secretary out of wages and benefits,” Warren writes with loaded language in letter. She accuses Puzder’s company of having a “record of prolific labor law abuses and discrimination suits” and his own “long record of public comments [that] reveals a sneering contempt for the workers in your stores, and a vehement opposition to the laws you will be charged with enforcing.”
Warren has a history of writing letters in order to “ask questions.” While unsuccessful in many of her attempts to sway policy or confirmations, she nonetheless has raised her profile in left-wing, Democrat circles as a supposed champion of workers and lower income families.
She recently sent inquiries to 33 companies with direct ties to the 401(k) space, including Schwab, LPL Financial, TD Ameritrade and others, asking if “they support delaying the regulation and if they would roll back their already-announced plans if the rule’s implementation is pushed back.”
Lincoln National, Jackson National Life, Prudential Financial and Transamerica were all targeted “for publicly stating that the rule …would hurt business while privately telling investors it would not create a major hurdle.”
She requested the commission “formally look into whether the statements were contradictory and ran afoul of securities laws.”