Senate clears senior Labor nominee after Menendez votes to confirm

The second time’s the charm: The Senate approved José Javier Rodríguez, 50-48, for a senior Labor Department role after previously voting against confirming the former Florida Democratic politician last November.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) joined with all Republicans in voting no, but Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) flipped his vote in favor of the nominee for assistant Labor secretary for employment and training, a break from the prior vote.

Sens. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) did not vote, meaning Vice President Kamala Harris was not needed to break a tie.

“It was never about the nominee,” Menendez, who faces multiple federal charges of corruption, told POLITICO in a brief interview. “It was about issues with the White House.”

Senators previously voted down the nomination by a 44-51 tally last year with four Democrats and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) absent. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer changed his vote to no for procedural reasons.