WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama gave a glowing rollout Monday to Thomas Perez, his choice to lead the Labor Department. But the nomination quickly ran into trouble as a Republican senator declared he would block the nomination until GOP concerns about Perez’s Justice Department tenure are addressed.
Sen. David Vitter said he objects because Perez enforced Louisiana’s voting rights laws in a way “that specifically benefits the politics of the president and his administration at the expense of identity security” of registered voters in the state. The Justice Department, he said, has not responded to Vitter’s 2011 letter on the subject.
But Obama and his allies pressed ahead with Perez’s debut in a new role. They predicted he would raise the agency’s profile and play a more prominent role in the Cabinet than Hilda Solis, who left the post in January.