President Biden on Wednesday said he is eager to “finish the job” during a nomination event for Deputy Labor Secretary Julie Su to be his next secretary of Labor, touting his pro-union efforts out of the first two years of his administration.
“We can do a lot of good things. We have a shot to really do some really good things that are totally consistent with everything about what this country is about, and I’m just anxious to finish the job here,” Biden said.
He echoed remarks from his State of the Union address, when he said about a dozen times that he wants to “finish the job,” giving a nod to a 2024 bid, although he hasn’t officially announced that he will seek reelection.
“I promised to be the most pro-union president … and folks, the reason I ran was to rebuild the backbone of this nation, the middle class,” Biden said.
Biden nominated Su on Tuesday to replace Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, who was the first Cabinet secretary to leave their post since the start of the Biden administration.
“Mr. President, when you said you wanted to be the most pro-worker, pro-union president in history and restore decency and build the middle class, I said, ‘Sign me up for that, I want to help do that,’” Su said at the event on Wednesday, which was full of Cabinet secretaries and members of Congress.
“I’m proud to be chosen to — in the words of the president — finish the job,” she added.
During the event at the White House, Biden thanked Walsh for his “hard work” protecting workers rights and safety, including during negotiations between railroad operators and union workers to avoid a strike that officials said would have crippled the U.S. supply chain. He also touted Walsh’s help getting Congress to pass the Butch Lewis Act, which protects pensions and retirement benefits for workers.
Biden on Wednesday said that Su, who is the daughter of immigrants, represents the American dream.
Her nomination sets her up to be Biden’s first Asian American Cabinet secretary, though he nodded to three other Asian Americans who hold Cabinet-level positions: Vice President Harris, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Arati Prabhakar.
Su, a former California labor secretary, was confirmed by the Senate to serve as deputy secretary of Labor in a vote along party lines in July 2021. In this Congress, Su faces a 51-49 Democratic-led Senate, though Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) is receiving treatment for depression at Walter Reed Medical Center for what his office said would be the next few weeks.
“Fighting to make sure they have a fair shot, and no one’s left behind, Julie has spent her life fighting for that vision, her entire professional career,” Biden said on Wednesday.
Su added, “To all workers who are toiling in the shadows, to workers who are organizing for power and respect in the workplace, know that we see you, we stand with you, and we will fight for you.”
Walsh left the administration to lead the National Hockey League Players’ Association.
“I assume he knows something about hockey. I asked if he’d take me with him, but he wouldn’t,” Biden quipped.