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Democrats, labor leaders call for Labor nominee Andrew Puzder to withdraw

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Michael Collins, USA TODAY

Published 12:33 p.m. ET Feb. 9, 2017 | Updated 10 minutes ago

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats and labor advocates demanded Thursday that Andrew Puzder withdraw his nomination as Labor secretary, saying the fast-food executive cannot be counted on to defend worker’s rights.

“It’s disgraceful to put secretary of Labor and Puzder in the same sentence given his views,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.

Sen. Patty Murray, the top Democrat on the committee that will hold Puzder’s confirmation hearing on Feb. 16, called him “uniquely unqualified” to serve as Labor secretary.

The calls for Puzder’s withdrawal come on the heels of his admission Monday night that he and his wife employed an undocumented housekeeper for years.

Puzder said he ended the woman’s employment when he learned of her status and fully paid back taxes to the IRS and California.

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Puzder’s critics also cited work conditions at his restaurants and his opposition to raising the minimum wage and expanding overtime eligibility as reasons that he is unsuited to head the Department of Labor.

Puzder’s spokesman, George Thompson, dismissed the claims as “fake news.”

“The Democrats and their special interests have targeted Andy Puzder, his company and his family with a barrage of attacks and today’s ‘fake news’ conference is no exception,” Thompson said. “The fact is, Andy is exactly what America’s workers and businesses need: a proven job creator.”

“He’s from a working class family — the first Puzder to earn a college degree — and he knows that success is achieved through hard work.  And to address his qualifications for the job, Andy Puzder understands how the right policies can spur economic growth and bring more opportunity for all Americans.”

Puzder, who lives in Franklin, Tenn., is CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. fast-food chains. Trump picked him in December to be the new Labor secretary.

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