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“Your management style seems to have a political bias,” Mr. Scott said. “It seems not to be open, not to be fair.”

Many Senate Democrats expressed confidence in Mr. Perez‘ ability to get the economy back on track.

Asked what his top priority would be, Mr. Perez responded, “Jobs, jobs and jobs. I believe it’s critically important to get Americans back to work, and I believe the Department of Labor can play a critical role.”

“That’s why you’re here: to help our constituents get back to work,” said Sen. Christopher Murphy, Connecticut Democrat.

If confirmed, Mr. Perez would play a pivotal role in the administration’s efforts on immigration reform and raising the minimum wage.

It’s unclear whether Senate Republicans plan to block Mr. Perez‘ nomination. They’re blocking other nominations from Mr. Obama, including Richard Cordray, who was re-appointed to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But they swiftly approved Mary Jo White to helm the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“You’ve dedicated your life to making people’s lives better,” said Sen. Al Franken, Minnesota Democrat.