Over her long career in public service—as an advocate for environmental justice in California, state legislator, member of Congress and Secretary of Labor—Hilda Solis has been a tireless champion for working families. Over the last four years, Secretary Solis has been a critical member of my economic team as we have worked to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and strengthen the economy for the middle class. Her efforts have helped train workers for the jobs of the future, protect workers’ health and safety and put millions of Americans back to work. I am grateful to Secretary Solis for her steadfast commitment and service not only to the Administration, but on behalf of the American people.This is not a large surprise, though the lower profile of the secretary of labor means it has not been nearly as much discussed as secretary of state or defense or the treasury. The departure of a woman from the cabinet will increase pressure on Obama as the gender composition of his administration has been spotlighted this week. But, equally importantly, Dave Weigel notes that:
I wish her all the best in her future endeavors.
Solis faced a real fight when she was nominated in 2008. Republicans tried to scandalize her work in the labor movement, and accused her of dodging questions during her confirmation hearing. They were, at that time, worried about the Obama administration pushing the Employee Free Choice Act through the Senate; they were aware that the Bush administration's Department of Labor, run by Elaine Chao, was a model of conservative success. In the end they only mustered 17 votes against Solis, fewer than Tim Geithner got. But Republican opposition to all things Obama has only risen since then.Make that Republican opposition to all things Obama and all things pro-worker. The National Labor Relations Board turned out to be more of a lightning rod for Republican rage during Obama's first term, but you can count on Senate Republicans to be deeply opposed to any nominee to head the Department of Labor who is seen as being in any way on the side of working people.
1:49 PM PT: So who in the cabinet is staying?