The Senate has departed Washington with no pro forma sessions scheduled for two weeks, enabling President Obama to make recess appointments. Speculation circles around the appointment of SEIU counsel and radical labor theorist Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board.
Investor’s Business Daily editorializes, “Card Check by Fiat?,” expressing views that align with many of those in the business community. Appointing someone from the labor side to the NLRB is understandable, even if Becker would be the first appointee to come directly from a union’s staff. Recess appointments fall under the normal course of operations (even if Becker actually had a vote by the full Senate, the failure to invoke cloture on his nomination). The problem is Becker’s views and the possibility of his pushing through anti-democratic measures on the NLRB. IBD:
Becker for years has been making the argument that labor rules favoring unions that can’t gain congressional approval can nonetheless “be achieved with almost no alteration of the statutory framework.” His desire to usurp Congress’ authority to make law hasn’t gone unnoticed by Sen. Ben Nelson. The Nebraska Democrat thinks Becker’s record strongly indicates that he would “pursue a personal agenda” at the board “rather than that of the administration.”
The unions don’t even make a secret of their plans to bypass the legislative process if they can’t get what they want from Congress. As Stewart Acuff, chief of staff and assistant to the president of the Utility Workers Union of America, wrote last month in the Huffington Post:
“If we aren’t able to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, we will work with President Obama and Vice President Biden and their appointees to the National Labor Relations Board to change the rules governing forming a union through administrative action.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s once adamant opposition to recess appointments has softened, at least when it comes to the National Labor Relations Board, Politico reports:
“He has decided that enough is enough and would support such a move,” spokesman Jim Manley said late Friday.
Reid had told White House officials he’s willing to accept the appointment of union-friendly lawyers Craig Becker and Mark Pearce to fill two longstanding vacancies on the five-member board, according to Democrats familiar with the situation.
- Fox News, “Will He or Won’t He, Anxiety/Anticipation Build Over Possible Obama Recess Appointments“
- Heritage Foundation, The Foundry blog, “Craig Becker: Big Labor’s Big Ally“
- National Right to Work Foundation blog, “Is Obama Planning an Easter Recess Appointment of Radical SEIU Lawyer Craig Becker to the NLRB?“
- MarketWatch Election blog, “NLRB recess appointments — a proxy for gauging Obama’s power?” (Shouldn’t the question be: a proxy for gauging labor’s power?)
And here’s a release, interesting mostly in terms of its source, Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA), a House member whose committee assignments have no jurisdiction over labor issues, “Congressman Fattah Urges Recess Appointment to NLRB“:
The work of the NLRB is too important to fall victim to silly Senate politics. I call on the President to do the right thing, right now. Use your recess appointing power and seat Craig Becker immediately.
Senators will love that, a House member lecturing them on politics and prerogatives. For the record, Senate opposition to Becker’s confirmation was bipartisan, and employers’ objections to his appointment to the NLRB are serious, not silly.
Earlier posts on Becker and the NLRB.