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Senate Confirms Indian American Seema Nanda as Solicitor for the Department of Labor

Senate Confirms Indian American Seema Nanda as Solicitor for the Department of Labor

  • As the No. 3 official at DOL, she will wield considerable authority throughout the department.

The Senate voted 53-46 on July 14 to confirm Indian American civil rights lawyer Seema Nanda as solicitor for the Department of Labor (DOL). Republican senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mitt Romney of Utah, joined all Democrats in confirming Nanda.

As the No. 3 official at DOL, Nanda will wield considerable authority throughout the department. The Office of the Solicitor spearheads litigation under numerous labor and employment laws and advises department subagencies on regulations and policies on workplace issues such as wages, safety, and discrimination.

Bloomberg Law reported that in her new role, Nanda “will be relying on years of federal agency experience as she confronts an expanding portfolio in an administration committed to a wide range of legally complex worker-focused initiatives.” The report added that the former Obama administration official “must meet the moment despite the constraints of an understaffed legal office that the department recently warned would be “substantially diminished” absent a funding boost from Congress later this year.”

Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Chair Judy Chu (CA-27) issued a statement congratulating Nanda. “I am thrilled to congratulate Seema Nanda on her confirmation to serve as Solicitor for the Department of Labor. Whether it’s risks from coronavirus, rising temperatures from climate change, or unscrupulous employers, workers continue to face difficult challenges every day. This is why it’s so significant that President Biden chose somebody with Seema’s experience as the Solicitor of Labor. Her office will play a central role in fighting legal battles and challenges. With experience as the Deputy Solicitor and Chief of Staff at the Department of Labor under Secretary Tom Perez, I know that Seema will be a champion for workers’ rights and vulnerable communities from the very start.”

Nanda, who was appointed chief executive officer of the Democratic National Committee in 2018, was replaced last year by Mary Beth Cahill, a senior adviser to the party. Nanda received criticism for her lack of political experience.

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She joined the U.S. Department of Labor as the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Secretary in October 2013. At the Department of Labor, she worked on a myriad of issues, including employee engagement, wage and hour, fair pay, workforce development, immigration. She previously headed the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Before joining OSC, she served at the National Labor Relations Board’s Division of Advice.

Nanda grew up in Connecticut and is a graduate of Brown University and Boston College Law School.

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