Senate Can't Reward Julie Su's Incompetence With Another Promotion

(The opinions expressed in guest op-eds are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of

Whatever other qualifications President Biden was looking for when he nominated Julie Su to serve as Secretary of Labor, competence clearly wasn’t one of them.


Slavish allegiance to union special interests? Check.

A badly calibrated ethical compass? Yup.

But if the job application included any questions regarding Su’s stewardship of the public treasury, transparency, or integrity, she either skipped them and/or the president was napping when he should have been vetting her.

Consequently, Su’s confirmation hangs by a thread with her hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee scheduled for April 20.

Mercurial West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, the Senate’s resident Hamlet, announced last week he had grave reservations about Su’s fitness for the position. Meanwhile, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and John Fetterman (D-PA), have already missed numerous votes this session for health reasons.

Newly-declared Independent Kyrsten Sinema has expressed reservations and has proven her willingness to be a maverick in the proud tradition of Arizona Senators.

If even one votes against her or doesn’t vote, Democrats won’t be able to ramrod Su into office.

For its part, the GOP appears uncharacteristically unified in opposition to her — just as they were in 2021, when Su’s nomination for Assistant Secretary of Labor squeaked through by a 50-47 vote without a single Republican vote.

And small wonder.

Su “served” as California’s Labor Secretary from 2019 to 2021 and oversaw the state’s Department of Employment Security. As Orange County Register columnist John Phillips put it, “On her watch, 5 million Californians had benefits delayed and 1 million had benefits improperly denied.”


Amazingly, at the same time needy people were being denied their benefits, Su transferred somewhere between $30 and $40 billion in state money to undeserving criminals.

Former State Rep. and now Congressman Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) called the debacle the “largest fraud of taxpayer dollars in history.

In total, at least $11 billion has been looted from California’s coffers in an unemployment fraud scheme run rampant across the state, while another $20 billion in possible losses is still being investigated.

By Su’s own account, of the $114 billion the state paid out in unemployment claims during the coronavirus pandemic, 10 percent — or $11.4 billion — involves fraud, and another 17 percent is under investigation.

“There is no sugarcoating the reality,” Su said during a press conference. “California has not had sufficient security measures in place to prevent this level of fraud, and criminals took advantage of the situation.”

If that sounds like someone owning their own mistakes, however, don’t kid yourself.

Instead, Su laid the blame where Biden and his cronies always do — at the door of former President Donald Trump, whose administration, she claims, did not provide guidance or resources to California to counter fraudulent claims.

“It should be no surprise that EDD was overwhelmed, just like the rest of the nation’s unemployment agencies,” Su said. “And we now know that as millions of Californians applied for help, international and national criminal rings were at work behind the scenes working relentlessly to steal unemployment benefits using sophisticated methods of identity theft.”


Her dissembling didn’t even fool members of her own party.

California Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, the Democrat who chairs the Accountability and Administrative Review Committee, told the Los Angeles Times, “(Su) has done a tremendous job on many different initiatives, but she has not done a good job at running the Employment Development Department and, as a result, has wasted billions of dollars and, more importantly, caused heartache for millions of Californians.”

Su also championed California’s minimum wage hike, which made her union cohorts very happy,  but one that poured gasoline on the roaring fire of the state’s economy, boosting retail prices, making the goal of home ownership unattainable for even more state residents and forcing businesses to lay off more eager, but lower-skilled people they could no longer afford to employ.

Thanks to Ms. Su, California’s jobless rate joins New York, Ohio, and West Virginia as the nation’s seventh-highest at 4.1 percent, far exceeding the national average of 3.4 percent.

“Over several decades,” Biden said of his nominee, “Julie has led the largest state labor department in the nation, cracked down on wage theft, fought to protect trafficked workers, increased the minimum wage, created good-paying, high-quality jobs, and established and enforced workplace safety standards.”


Um, no.

Depending on your point of view, Julie Su is either a fox or a blind watchdog. In either case, she has no business anywhere near the taxpayers’ henhouse.

Aaron Withe is CEO of the Freedom Foundation

(EDITOR’S NOTE: RedState has been spotlighting the failures of Biden’s Secretary of Labor nominee Julie Su since 2020, when she was California’s EDD Director. Read our coverage here.)


Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on RedState Videos