(Updates with more background, details, and a comment from
Andrew Puzder's spokesman)
By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON Feb 15 U.S. Labor Secretary nominee
Andrew Puzder is expected to withdraw his nomination amid
mounting concerns that not enough Senate Republicans would vote
to confirm him, NBC News reported on Wednesday, citing a senior
The report came on the heels of CNN report that top U.S.
Senate Republicans had asked the White House to withdraw his
name from consideration.
Republicans control 52 of the chamber's 100 seats. If just
three Republicans join with all 48 senators who caucus with the
Democrats, his nomination would be defeated.
Reuters could not immediately confirm the reports.
"These are rumors and we've heard this tune before," said
George Thompson, a spokesman for Puzder.
At least seven Republican senators, including Susan Collins
of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, have declined to publicly
back Puzder in advance of his confirmation hearing, which is
scheduled for 10 a.m. EST (1400 GMT) on Thursday.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island,
told CNN on Wednesday he knew of at least six Republicans "who
are gravely concerned about this nomination" and are
"considering voting against it."
As of 2 p.m. EST Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Health,
Education, Labor and Pensions, which is slated to vet his
nomination, had not received his testimony for the hearing,
according to an aide.
Typically, such testimony is submitted 24 hours prior to the
hearing's start time.
Puzder is chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants Inc,
which primarily franchises fast-food chains including Hardee's
and Carl's Jr.
The progressive left is actively campaigning against Puzder
amid concerns about his views on overtime and the minimum wage
and claims by some CKE workers who say they are victims of wage
theft or victims of sexual harassment in the workplace.
In recent weeks other issues have surfaced that could make
some Republicans uncomfortable.
Earlier this month, Puzder admitted he and his wife had
employed an undocumented person as a housekeeper and had to pay
back taxes as a result.
On Wednesday, conservative magazine National Review
published an op-ed that urged the Senate to vote against Puzder
because of his support for guest worker visa programs and other
policies that it claims undercut American workers in favor of
(Additional reporting by Timothy Ahmann; Editing by Eric Walsh
and Jeffrey Benkoe)