Tom Perez, President Obama's pick to serve as the next Labor secretary, faced tough questioning from GOP lawmakers at his April 18 confirmation hearing before the Senate labor committee.

But Democrats portrayed Perez, who heads the Justice Dept.'s civil-rights division, as a well-qualified consensus-builder who earned the support of both business and labor groups during his stints as Maryland's labor secretary and as a Montgomery County, Md., council member.

Ranking member Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said he had concerns about Perez's role in the DOJ's decision not to intervene in a St. Paul, Minn., whistle-blower case. But Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said any allegations of wrongdoing were baseless.