President Obama finally has a labor secretary, leaving his picks at commerce and health and human services still to go to complete his cabinet.

The Senate late this afternoon voted 80-17 to confirm California congresswoman Hilda Solis at labor, two months after Obama nominated her.

Her nomination was held up by Republican concerns over her pro-union activities, then by reports of tax liens against her husband’s business.

Labor groups have been aggressively pushing for Solis, and immediately applauded her confirmation.

‘The confirmation of Rep. Hilda Solis is a huge victory: finally Americans will have a Secretary of Labor who represents working people, not wealthy CEO’s. It is also a historic moment as Rep. Solis becomes the first Hispanic Secretary of Labor,’ AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said in a statement.

‘The delay of Rep. Solis’s nomination for partisan and ideological reasons was overcome by the grassroots support of millions of Americans who are struggling and desperately need a secretary of labor who will be their voice,’ he added, calling her ‘uniquely qualified to help struggling families through these difficult economic times because she knows firsthand what they are going through.’

‘She grew up in a working class family and understands what programs our nation’s workers need the most. She will fight to improve skills development and job creation programs, including development of ‘green collar’ jobs,’ Sweeney added. ‘She will work to assure that workers get the pay they have earned and that they work in safe, healthy, and fair workplaces. She’s ready to address the retirement security crisis and will work hard to protect every worker from job discrimination, regardless of race, sex, veteran status, or disability.’

‘In the midst of this economic crisis – when thousands of jobs are lost every day – it is crucial to make the economy work for working people again. Americans need a plan to help put families back to work, back in their homes, and back on the path of prosperity. In addition to bold economic recovery plan, America’s workers need a strong Department of Labor,’ added Anna Burger, chairwoman of the Change to Win coalition.

“Hilda Solis is the right person to lead that charge. She has long been a champion of working families. She has fought for fair pay for women, health care for children, green jobs and the right for workers to have a voice in the workplace to improve wages, conditions and benefits. We applaud Congress for their confirmation of Hilda Solis as U.S. Secretary of Labor and look forward to working alongside her. We are confident that she will help restore the economy, rebuild the middle class and renew the American Dream for America’s workers.”

The National Council of La Raza leader Janet Murguía also praised the confirmation. With historic unemployment numbers and with workers in crisis, the appointment of a strong and capable leader to oversee the U.S. Department of Labor is critical, she said.

“American workers need a leader who will stand up for them at a time when they face unprecedented challenges,” Murguía said.

Tom Daschle withdrew at health and human services over tax problems, and though reports have suggested Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius is in line for the appointment, Obama has yet to announce it.

As soon as Wednesday, Obama is expected to nominate former Washington Governor Gary Locke as his third try at Commerce. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson withdrew over an investigation into state contracts, then Republican Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire jilted Obama at the political altar, saying he had too many policy differences with the new Democratic president.

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