It perhaps should not be surprising that President-elect Donald Trump is making his cabinet picks the most exciting show in town these days.
The former Apprentice host knows a thing or two about building drama and tension is certainly growing over who he will name to lead departments. Of course, labor secretary is the one that many in the insurance and financial industries are keeping an eye on.
That would have seemed improbable just a few years ago, but that was before the Department of Labor issued the conflict of interest fiduciary rule and the new overtime standard.
Here are some names being floated as candidates:
- Lou Barletta: The Pennsylvania congressman was an early Trump supporter who made a name for himself with anti-illegal immigrant policies as a mayor of a small city in Pennsylvania. He is also a member of the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions.
- Peter Kirsanow: He is an attorney who serves on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and was also on the National Labor Relations Board from 2006 to 2008. Bloomberg BNA reported that Kirsanow seemed pretty impressed with Trump after a “surprise” Sunday meeting. The article mentions that Kirsanow said he was a moderate on the overtime rule and did not address the fiduciary regulation.
- John Kline: The Minnesota congressman who serves as chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee is retiring at the end of the year. Roll Call names him as a possibility, but he does not appear on many lists.
- Victoria Lipnic: Her name was one of the first to come up and is most mentioned. Lipnic has been a Republican commissioner on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) since 2010. Before then she was the assistant secretary of labor under George W. Bush. The Atlantic reported that Lipnic “represents a more moderate choice for labor secretary. … Her voting record as an EEOC commissioner sometimes crosses party lines, but is largely indicative of a preference for less regulation.”
- Andrew Puzder: He was an economic adviser for Trump’s campaign and is CEO of CKE Restaurants, which owns Carl's Jr. and Hardee's. He has called the Affordable Care Act a disaster and opposes the minimum wage increase. The minimum wage increase for federal contractors to $10.10 was an executive order issued by President Barack Obama through the labor department.
- Scott Walker: The governor of Wisconsin ran briefly for president but might be better known for taking away public-sector unions’ collective-bargaining rights. Some have argued that this move drained Democratic financial and political power in one of the key swing states that Trump won. Walker's anti-union sentiments are well-known, but he hasn’t said much on the department’s regulations.
Steven A. Morelli is editor-in-chief for InsuranceNewsNet. He has more than 25 years of experience as a reporter and editor for newspapers, magazines and insurance periodicals. He was also vice president of communications for an insurance agents’ association. Steve can be reached at [email protected]
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