With the January resignation of Hilda Solis as Labor secretary and the wait for her successor to be confirmed, Harris has been serving both as the top deputy and as acting secretary. As such, he's not only been performing as the chief executive and chief operating officer of a department with an $85 billion-plus budget ($12.5 billion discretionary) and more than 17,000 employees but also as its principal policy leader. A native of Roslyn Heights, N.Y., the 50-year-old Harris worked in the Labor Department for nearly seven years under President Clinton. He was nominated to be deputy secretary in February 2009, having run then-presidential candidate Barack Obama's labor, education, and transportation transition team. Harris oversaw the department's implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and in 2011 he helped to negotiate—with Obama's economic adviser, Gene Sperling—reauthorization of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program with members of Congress. Harris is a leading administration voice in support of Obama's push to raise the minimum wage. Before joining the Obama campaign, he was director of the New York Law School's labor and employment law programs. A graduate of Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Harris also has a law degree from New York University.
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