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GOP senators warn Obama of NLRB recess appointment

By Ed O'Keefe

With the two-week Congressional Easter recess fast approaching, Republican senators warned President Obama Thursday not to use the break to recess-appoint Craig Becker, a Democratic pick to serve on the National Labor Relations Board.

Becker's nomination stalled after it failed a Senate cloture vote in February, one of only a handful of Obama nominees rejected or sent back for reconsideration.

Obama has threatened to make recess appointments as the pace of Senate confirmations slowed, though sources tell The Post the White House has yet to make a decision about whether to move Becker's nomination through a recess appointment. Vice President Biden and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis also suggested in the last month that Becker could be appointed over the break. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts even waded into the debate this week, openly wondering why Obama hadn't made recess appointments to NLRB.

By law the president can install nominees without Senate confirmation during Congressional breaks. But those picks can only serve through the end of the next Congressional session, meaning Becker could serve through the end of 2011 before requiring Senate approval.

George W. Bush made at least 171 recess appointments while Bill Clinton made 139, according to the Congressional Research Service.

A letter signed by all 41 Senate Republicans suggested the Senate should confirm two other NLRB nominees -- Democratic union lawyer Mark Gaston Pearce and Senate Republican aide Brian Hayes -- and then have Obama appoint someone other than Becker to help give the panel a Democratic majority and resume hearing cases.

Republicans consider Becker too pro-union because of his work with the Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO.

"His writings clearly indicate that he would use his position on the NLRB to institute far-reaching changes in labor law far exceeding the board's authority and bypassing the role of Congress," the letter said.

But most Senate Democrats consider him qualified to serve on the board.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | March 25, 2010; 12:22 PM ET
Categories:  Administration, Congress  
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Comments

I think Obama is done listening to the GOP. They've made it clear that they have no interest in doing anything but distort, distract and divide while spreading fear and hatred.

They had their chance. Obama tried. Screw 'em and their tea bagging thugs.

Posted by: thebobbob | March 25, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I supposed if Obama made 1 recess appointment Republicans would accuse him of being partisan and ramming the appointments through. Just think 171 appointments by Bush, non yet by Obama and republicans are ready to fight over the 1st one even before he does it.

Posted by: ged0386 | March 25, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

It's possible that Republicans have assumed that because Obama is civil, he must be weak. Recent events may lead them to question that assumption.

Posted by: frodot | March 25, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm wondering what the republicans will do if the recess appointment is made...."not cooperate for the rest of the year"? That threat has been in effect since Jan 20, 2009, and has already been issued this past week.

Posted by: cgallaway2000 | March 25, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Obama may be "done listening to the Republicans" but that is because he never started listening to them. The attitude all along was "I won. The Democrats have the majority in Congress. We will push through laws and policies as far let as we can get away with." And that is what they have done and continue to do. Regardless of the fact that the public does NOT support all of these far left policies and individuals. Obama thinks he was elected king, not President.

Posted by: sam38 | March 25, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Their only intent is to fight this President all the way. They conduct themselves like the tea baggers, by their actions they are suttle refusing to acknowledge him as President. Instead they want to warn him about every action he is about to take or has taken. it is time for him to drop the sledge hammer on them and let them feel who was elected to govern.

Posted by: samiaelsberesford | March 25, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

How big are your hands, Ed? All the sources I could find said more than 60 nominations are currently being delayed by one procedure or another.

Posted by: dlk117561 | March 25, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I AM A UNION MEMBER. HAVING SAID THAT I FIND IT NECESSARY TO STATE THAT I AM OPPOSED TO THE NOMINATION OF CRAIG BECKER TO THE BOARD. THIS IS AN INDIVIDUAL THAT ESPOUSES ALL OF WHAT IS WRONG WITH UNIONS. THE SEIU IS ONE OF THE MOST CORRUPT ORGANIZATIONS OPERATIN UNDER THE GUISE OF UNIONISM. A MEMBER OF THE BOARD SHOULD BE A PERSON WHO AT LEAST GIVES THE APPEARANCE OF IMPARTIALITY. THIS IS NOT THE CASE WITH BECKER. ONCE AGAIN IT IS EVIDENCE OF OBUMA PAYING OFF A DEBT AT THE EXPENSE OF AMERICAN BUSINESS. AMERICA HAS SEEN THE NUMBER OF UNION MEMBERS DECLINE OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS. BUSINESS HAVE BEEN HURT BY THE EVER INCREASING DEMANDS OF UNIONS. WE HAVE REACHED A POINT WHERE THE UNIONS DEMAND A SHAARE OF THE PROFITS OF A BUSINESS, YET, THEY HAVE INVESTED NOTHING INTO THE BUSINESS. CERTAINLY THEY CAN SAY WE HAVE INVESTED OUR TIME AND EFFORT. BUT THEY HAVE BEEN COMPENSATED FOR THAT EFFORT. IF THE BUSINESS GOES OUT, THEN THE UNION EMPLOYEES HAVE NOTHING. THE DAMAGE THAT SOMEONE LIKE BECKER CAN DO TO THE AMERICAN LABOR MOVEMENT WILL BE FAR REACHING. OBUMA IS SO INDEBTED TO SEIU THAT ANYTHING GOES TO REPAY THEM. THERE MUST BE A BETTER CHOICE.
MY FELLOW UNION MEMBERS ARE SUPPOSED TO WORK AN 8 HOUR DAY. THE TRUTH IS THAT IT IS MORE LIKE 6 HOURS WITH COFFE BREAK IN THE MORNING AND A BECERAGE BREAK IN THE AFTERNOO. THEN WE GO TO LUNCH AT ABOUT 11:45 INSTEAD OF 11:55. WE QUIT WORK AT 4:15 INATEAD OF 4:25. IT ALL ADDS UP TO CHEATING THE BOSS OUT OF PRODUCTION. SINCE HE NEVER WORKED IN HIS LIFE OBUMA HAS NO IDEA ABOUT WHAT HE IS DOING.

Posted by: MALBENNET | March 25, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

if he appoints Becker what are the repubs going to do slow down Health Care reform again? He needs to tell them to go to Virginia and have a BBQ and he will do what he wants to just like George W did when he appointed Bolton to the UN if the Senate refuses to do their jobs after the recess and want to act like John McCain then hopefully the voters will replace them on election day even with new republicans but refusing to do their jobs is not being adult they want to act like 3 year olds then expect to be treated like 3 year olds

Posted by: mikey30919 | March 25, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Where was Republican outrage when Bushy was in office muscling through whatever right-wing legislation he wanted? Their indignation is misplaced. In case they didn't notice, they lost the last election. They should stop acting like every action the President takes is an assault on the American way of life, and start working WITH the Dems instead of against them. every. single. step. of the way. I really hope the boys who cry wolf get their comeuppance.

Posted by: ubicomp | March 25, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

They must be racists to oppose Obama. It's the only possible answer.

Posted by: corrections | March 25, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone stop and think about how the Republican Leaders more and more sound like the bullies that we all knew and saw in school growing up. Always trying to intimidate people into doing things they wanted or stopping others from doing things they did not like. They are like a pack of mad dogs running through a neighborhood looking for trouble.

Posted by: EastCoastnLA | March 25, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

The Republican minority leadership of the past year and the Republican majority under Bush/Cheney the previous 8 years has established firmly that what the Republicans support is bad for the country and what the Republicans oppose is good for the country.

They are owed a debt of gratitude for smoothing the road to progress.

Posted by: apspa1 | March 25, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I blame Obama for using that Vulcan Mind Thingy to make people do his bidding

Du du du du du vermmmmmmmm.

Oh wait, that's the vacuum cleaner. Better get it fixed.

Posted by: RogerRamjet2 | March 25, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

We're over a year into the Administration. It's time to recess appoint all remaining positions and fill the judicial vacancies.

The GOP has no political capital. End this nonsense.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | March 25, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I think Obama is done listening to the GOP. They've made it clear that they have no interest in doing anything but distort, distract and divide while spreading fear and hatred.

They had their chance. Obama tried. Screw 'em and their tea bagging thugs.

Posted by: thebobbob | March 25, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

LOL too bad that id10t's like you are the one's who will be hurt by Obama's plans and are just to stup1d to figure that out. In the past 3 days it's been hilarious watching LIB T@RDS scratch their heads after learning that if they don't purchase health insurance they'll be fine or imprisoned. Something we've been discussing for a month and yet you all over looked. So with that said in the next few years as your income is reduced and your expenses rise remember "this is what you wanted" we'll be sitting here laughing and WILL NOT HELP.

Posted by: askgees | March 25, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Their only intent is to fight this President all the way. They conduct themselves like the tea baggers, by their actions they are suttle refusing to acknowledge him as President. Instead they want to warn him about every action he is about to take or has taken. it is time for him to drop the sledge hammer on them and let them feel who was elected to govern.
Posted by: samiaelsberesford | March 25, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse
Maybe you need to return to the 5th grade and retake US Gov. then you would realize that the president is the least powerful person in Washington. Drop the hammer. LOL what a friggin ret@rd. My 13 year old son has more brains then you. You must be the pride and joy of your family. LOL

Posted by: askgees | March 25, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Enough of these repulicraphead threats. Obama: Appoint whoever you want and tell those ayholes to eff off!

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | March 25, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I AM A UNION MEMBER. HAVING SAID THAT I FIND IT NECESSARY TO STATE THAT I AM OPPOSED TO THE NOMINATION OF CRAIG BECKER TO THE BOARD. THIS IS AN INDIVIDUAL THAT ESPOUSES ALL OF WHAT IS WRONG WITH UNIONS.
Posted by: MALBENNET
*******************************************
What union do you belong to? Pick one:

Credit
Soviet
American Conservative
European
Other

Posted by: st50taw | March 25, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

The people blocking Becker's appointment are the same stupendously hypocritical people who got Elaine Chou appointed Secretary of Labor. I don't recall the Democrats holding anyone or anything hostage over that. You may recall that her previous job was with the Heritage Foundation. No anti-union bias there, uh-uh.

A little background fro"m wikipedia...

"After analyzing 70,000 closed case files from 2005 to 2007 the Government Accountability Office reported that the Department's Wage and Hour Division inadequately investigated complaints from low-wage and minimum wage workers alleging that employers failed to pay the federal minimum wage, required overtime, and failed to issue a last paycheck.[6]

A 2008 report by the department's inspector general found that despite implementation of the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006 (MINER Act), mine safety regulators did not conduct federally required inspections at more than 14 percent of the country's 731 underground coal mines during the previous year. The number of worker deaths in mining accidents more than doubled to 47.[7]

A 2009 internal audit appraising an Occupational Safety and Health Administration initiative under the Bush administration to focus special attention on problem workplaces revealed that OSHA employees failed to gather needed data, conducted uneven inspections and enforcement, and sometimes failed to discern repeat fatalities because records misspelled the companies' names or failed to notice when two subsidiaries with the same owner were involved, resulting in preventable workplace fatalities.[8]

During Chao's tenure, Labor Department gave Congress inaccurate and unreliable numbers that understated the expense of contracting out its employees' work to private firms, according to a Government Accountability Office report issued on November 24, 2008.[9][10]"

Posted by: st50taw | March 25, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

GOP Threats? LOL!!!!

What part of the last week have they missed?

Posted by: knedd | March 25, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Haha. Obama should swat away this "warning" like a gnat.

Posted by: monk4hall | March 25, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

I blame Obama for using that Vulcan Mind Thingy to make people do his bidding

Du du du du du vermmmmmmmm.

Oh wait, that's the vacuum cleaner. Better get it fixed.

Posted by: RogerRamjet2
*******************************************
Snort in my coffee! I hope you've got more where that came from. Sometimes this stuff gets way too serious.

Posted by: st50taw | March 25, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Lets refocus on this specific situation-
This is not about all outstanding Obama nominees, it's about one: Craig Becker. The Senate has voted on Becker and they rejected him 52-33 (note that it was bipartisan).

This has not been pointed out, but it should be noted that no Bush recess appointment to the Board ever lost a vote on the Senate floor first. In fact, I don't believe anyone has ever been recess appointed to the Board after being formally rejected by the full Senate.

The Republicans are not fighting all of Obama's NLRB nominees. They just aren't. Read the letter--they are ready and willing to vote on and approve the other two nominees (one of which has the backing of organized labor)to give the Board a quorum. The Democrats could make the Board operational today, but they are choosing not to. So tell me: Who is really holding up the work of the NLRB?

Presidential nominees are not interchangeable cogs--these comments appear to suggest that. The fact is, you will always have some that are controversial, and some that are not. The Democrats are being just plain stubborn on a nominee that could easily be replaced with another lawyer within the ranks of the labor movement that is less controversial and he would be confirmed in short order. If they went with that option, Obama could successfully confirm a Board member (three, in fact) for the first time in five years, an achievement on which he should want to hang his hat for the labor community.

Posted by: spt349 | March 25, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

This appointment is 'Acornesque'

Posted by: newbeeboy | March 25, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

If it was "bad" when GWB did it, then it still has to be "bad" if Obama does it. It's called CONSISTENCY, people. It will also be interesting to see the hypocrites on this. In particular, three Democratic Senators wrote a letter to the Government Accountability Office calling for an investigation of whether GWB's recess appointment of Sam Fox as U.S. Ambassador to Belgium was legal. Bush bypassed Congress and gave Fox the position without confirmation from the Senate, angering Democrats who were strongly against his nomination.

The letter, submitted by Democrats Chris Dodd of Connecticut, John Kerry of Massachusetts and Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, read: "We view the recess appointment of Mr. Fox as a clear abuse of the President's recess appointment power."

Dodd argued that the law that enables the president to make recess appointments was not created to get around the approval of the Senate.

"This is really now taking the recess appointment vehicle and abusing this beyond anyone's imagination," Dodd said, according to AP. "This is a travesty."

He said in a statement that what GWB did was "deceptive at best and illegal at worst."

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 25, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

All 41 GOP Senators signed a letter today urging Obama to not use the recess appointment power for Becker, whose nomination was nixed in a Senate vote last month.

“We urge you not to bypass the bipartisan Senate vote by giving Mr. Becker a recess appointment to the NLRB. Taking this action would install a rejected nominee for an appointed term to the NLRB, setting an unfortunate precedent for all future nominations and future administrations.”

On February 9, the Senate, on bipartisan basis, rejected Becker’s nomination by a vote of 52 to 43. Becker never sufficiently answered questions posed to him by Republican members of the Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, which both Hatch and McCain are members.

“Craig Becker stands far outside the mainstream of NLRB nominees,” said Senator Orrin Hatch. “Given the bipartisan opposition to his nomination, the Administration would be wise to not circumvent the will of the Senate by recess appointing him to the NLRB. There is no place on this powerful board for someone who believes that card check legislation – getting rid of the secret union ballot – can be enacted surreptitiously through regulation.”

“The U.S. Senate has made its feelings clear on Mr. Becker and his ability to serve in a fair and impartial manner as a member of the NLRB,” said Senator John McCain. If this Administration chooses to recess appoint Mr. Becker, it would be just another example of putting the will of one special interest group over the will of the American people.”

“We oppose Mr. Becker’s recess appointment because of his extensive, highly controversial writings, and his entire legal and scholarly career, all of which indicate that he could not be viewed as impartial, unbiased, or objective in deciding cases before this quasi-judicial agency. Instead, his writings clearly indicate that he would use his position on the NLRB to institute far-reaching changes in labor law far exceeding the Board’s authority and bypassing the role of Congress” to favor unions, the letter reads.

http://hatch.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=DataPipes.ViewPDF&Id=95b6b446-1b78-be3e-e0da-382faff34005

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 25, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

BECKER IS AN SEIU THUG!!!! NOV CAN'T COME SOON ENOUGH.

Posted by: Jimbo77 | March 27, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Is Becker good or is Becker bad for us to server on the NLRB? Well you know it does not even matter at this point. The Republicans are holding many of Obamas nominations hostage. Any selections Obama makes in this recess will be brought on by their political games. Had they not been so defiant, Obama would be forced to be more careful about his recess appointments. Why should he continue to believe they will play fair? The Republicans appear poised to attempt to stop progress in our country in the attempt to gain seats in the house and senate floors. In the meantime, we continue to suffer economically. But it does not matter to them, they have a job that pays well and provides medical care. And should a family member be in need of a good job, well they know a few people. But as for those who are not connected.......

Posted by: IdealMind | March 27, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse


The Republicans had a year to co-operate on these appointments and obviously had no intention of ever doing so, and therefore, Obama being responsible did what he needed to do. Spin is called spin for a reason, it does not change the fact that these appointments need to be filled one way or another, that is what is called being responsible. I know the word responsible is one that is foreign to Republicans, so it is no small wonder they don't understand. Great job Mr. President, you're doing it, keep it goin', don't back down, believe.

Posted by: Hillary08 | March 28, 2010 3:51 AM | Report abuse

When Reagan killed PATCO in 1981, it signalled open-season on labor and unions and business responded. It is now time for the pendulum to swing back toward favoring the worker.

Posted by: brianisland | March 28, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

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