Biden’s Nomination of EBSA Leader Delayed
In July, President Biden nominated Lisa Gomez for Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits Security, the leader of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). Ms. Gomez is a partner at a labor law firm and represents employer and union pension plans. Her nomination was considered by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee in October. The committee approved her nomination which 12-10, mostly along party lines.
The full Senate, however, has not yet considered her nomination. Reportedly, the nomination has been held up because Republican Senators want more information on her views on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing. Shortly after the approval by the HELP Committee, the Biden administration released a new proposal that would remove barriers to plan fiduciaries’ ability to consider these social factors when they select investments. As Assistant Secretary, Ms. Gomez would lead the administration’s regulatory agenda, including on contentious topics like ESG investing.
Because the Senate did not act on her nomination before adjourning Congress for the holiday break, her nomination must be resubmitted after the next session convenes in early January and the approval process must start over. The position has officially been vacant since May 2020, with the Deputy Assistant Secretary Ali Khawar serving as Acting Assistant Secretary since the beginning of the Biden administration.