Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) is barring Chai Feldblum, an Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner, and a lesbian, whom the Trump administration nominated to keep her Democratic chair for another term from confirmation through unanimous consent. According to Vox, Lee’s objection is that Feldblum (pictured above) wants to “use the might of government to stamp out traditional marriage supporters” and called for a nominee “who respects the institution of marriage and religious freedom for all Americans.”
On the other hand Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) has pledged to block unanimous consent votes on all other GOP labor nominees unless Feldblum and Mark Pearce, re-nominated for his Democratic seat on the National Labor relations Board, are confirmed by unanimous consent.
“In this moment, when sexual assault and harassment in the workplace are at the forefront of our national conversation, this is the wrong message to send to women, to workers, and to businesses,” Murray said.
And the prominent hitch in the process is that there are two seats currently vacant on the EEOC, and Feldblum’s current term expires December 31. If the Senate doesn’t vote to confirm the new slate of nominees by then, the EEOC will have only two commissioners left. That means the commission won’t have a quorum and will be unable to make certain big decisions.
Chase Thomas, executive director of Alliance for a Better Utah, also refutes Lee’s stance, issuing the following response:
“Like the time when he shut down the federal government in 2013, Senator Lee is showing us once again that it’s ‘his way or the highway.’ Despite assurances from the nominee that she respects and supports religious freedom, Lee is latching on to her support for the rights of LGBTQ Americans as an apparent disqualification for her service. This is an affront to not only his LGBTQ constituents, but to the spirit of compromise that Utahns embrace, as evidenced by Utah’s historic workplace discrimination legislation that protects both LGBTQ and religious rights. We deserve a functioning EEOC that protects the rights of all Americans, and to have Senator Lee standing in the way of that happening is a disservice to all.”
Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture