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California Labor Secretary Julie Su. Photo: Katie Falkenberg/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) lawmakers are pushing for President-elect Biden to nominate California Labor Secretary Julie Su to head the U.S. Department of Labor.

Why it matters: Biden has been pulled in multiple directions by different stakeholders as he looks to follow through on appointing the “single-most diverse” Cabinet in U.S. history. AAPI lawmakers have escalated their calls in recent weeks, with Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) on Friday urging Biden to include an AAPI Cabinet secretary.

What they're saying: "Including an AAPI at this highest level of government, as Presidents Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump have done, is a recognition of the AAPI community’s impact and contributions to our nation," Chu, who chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), said in a statement.

  • “Secretary Su has exemplified her fervent commitment to tirelessly fighting for justice on behalf of the poor, the disenfranchised, and the vulnerable,” Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) wrote in a letter to Biden, signed by 14 other members of Congress, earlier this week.
  • Su would make "an exceptional leader" as labor secretary, Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) tweeted Wednesday. "Zero #AAPI Cabinet Secretaries in his administration would be a disappointment for Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders."
  • AAPI advocacy groups, immigration and labor organizations and women’s rights groups have also backed Su for labor secretary.

But some say the position needs someone with deeper roots in Washington, Politico reports.

  • Biden is also considering Patrick Gaspard, among others, for the position.
  • Gaspard, who will leave his position as president of the Open Society Foundations at the end of the year, was director of the White House Office of Political Affairs under former President Obama.

Context: Biden courted AAPI voters in the month leading up to the election, promising visibility and representation.

  • AAPI voter turnout jumped significantly this year, especially in critical swing states like Georgia, according to the Washington Post.
  • "Asian American leaders express pride in [Vice President-elect Kamala] Harris’s historic election, but they also chafe at the idea that her presence might give the transition team a pass on naming other AAPIs to Cabinet positions," the Post notes.

Go deeper

Dec 24, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Tale of two Cabinets: Biden vs Trump

Here's a side-by-side look at President-elect Biden's Cabinet so far, paired with President Trump's debut Cabinet from 2017.

Updated 5 hours ago - World

Death toll mounts as fighting between Israel and Hamas intensifies

Palestinian Muslims exchange wishes for Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, near a razed building in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia, on May 13. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

At least 109 Palestinians and seven people in Israel have been killed since recent fighting between Israel's military and Hamas began Monday.

The big picture: Israel began massing troops on its border with Gaza on Thursday, launching attacks from the air and ground as Hamas continued to fire rockets into Israel.

By the numbers: Where the earmarks are wanted

Expand chart
Data: House Committee on Appropriations; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is being targeted for the largest collective earmark request in the country, according to a detailed breakdown of overall requests released by the House Appropriations Committee.

Why it matters: House appropriators are trying to balance bipartisan momentum for infrastructure investment with "pork-barrel" spending's checkered political history. The data dump is an effort to provide transparency for what are now termed "community project funding" requests.