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Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Senate confirmed another nominee for President George W. Bush's cabinet on a voice vote yesterday. Elaine Chao will head the Department of Labor. U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., a member of the Senate Health, Education and Labor Committee, made the following statement for the record:

Statement of Senator Michael B. Enzi
at the Confirmation of
Elaine Chao as Secretary of Labor

January 29, 2001

I am pleased that we are today confirming Elaine Chao as Secretary of Labor. As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Employment, Safety and Training and a member of the Small Business Committee, I am very concerned about making sure all businesses in this country, even the very smallest, are able to understand the thousands of regulations they must follow and get the help they need to follow them. I know Secretary Chao shares these concerns and I look forward to working with her on these issue.

I am also extremely excited about the managerial and administrative experience Ms. Chao brings to the Department. It is so important that we have good administrative processes in the Department of Labor. The decisions of this Department deeply affect both our nations' workers and the businesses that provide jobs and incomes and help our economy grow. It is absolutely critical that both workers and employers feel that these decisions are not arbitrary and are reached in a fair and impartial manner.

I firmly believe Secretary Chao has the experience and skills to inspire confidence in the fairness of the Department's actions, regardless of their popularity. This is a crucial responsibility of the Secretary of Labor, and I believe Secretary Chao has been well trained to fulfill this responsibility. I look forward to helping the Secretary with this task, and I welcome my fellow members from both sides of the aisle to join us in this effort. I hope that together during this Congress we can take a careful and close look at some of the existing regulatory and enforcement procedures that Secretary Chao will inherit. We must ensure that good procedures are followed properly, and we must change procedures that are not working.

I also look forward to working with Secretary Chao to bring the Department of Labor into the 21st Century. We are in a very exciting time of more positive relationships between employees and employers. In this period of record low unemployment, employers have learned the lesson that it makes good business sense to keep employees healthy and happy. In order to encourage this progress, we must ensure that our Department of Labor does not thwart the development of workplace arrangements and initiatives that benefit both employee and employer. This will take modern, innovative thinking and I am confident that Secretary Chao is such a thinker.

I think President made a wonderful choice when he nominated Elaine Chao to be Labor Secretary, and I am so glad the Senate has demonstrated equal wisdom by confirming her quickly. I look forward to working closely with Secretary Chao and the Department on all the many challenging workplace issues.

Thank you Mr. President. I yield the floor.