As the Senate Recess begins, observers continue to speculate whether President Obama will use recess appointments to place nominee Craig Becker on the National Labor Relations Board. Last week, Becker’s nomination stalled in the Senate when a motion for cloture failed 52-33. Later in the week, the President strongly suggested that he would not be using recess appointments at this time. In an opinion piece in today’s Politico, University of Texas Professor William E. Forbath asserts that Becker should be confirmed:
Cautious Democrats are urging the White House against making a recess appointment of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board. But these timid Democrats are wrong.
Many argue that the fallout from a Becker appointment would be self-defeating for labor because it would end any chance of getting the Employee Free Choice Act through the Senate. But the EFCA died when Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) took his seat, if it wasn’t dead already. The EFCA won’t pass unless and until the filibuster rules are changed. And then, the Becker appointment won’t matter.
At Human Events, the Heritage Foundation’s Brian Darling argues against the use of recess appointments:
A recess appointment can be made to put a nominee into a position temporarily, usually for a year or so, when the Senate is out of session. Many Democrat Leaders in the Senate vigorously opposed President George W. Bush’s use of recess appointments, but now support Obama’s stated intent to use recess appointment authority.
One of the questionable nominees is Craig Becker (for the National Labor Relations Board). Becker was blocked last week by the Senate because many are concerned about his views on the Executive Branch’s power to implement big labor’s agenda without legislation.
But as noted above, over the weekend, Sam Stein reported in the Huffington Post that the President would not appoint Becker by recess appointment:
Among those on the losing end of the deal struck between Obama and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are labor unions. Craig Becker, the president’s nominee for the National Labor Relations Board who was filibustered by the Senate this past week, will not get the recess appointment next week that union officials were hoping. Instead, his nomination is either dead or put on hold until the next Senate recess at the end of March.
Elsewhere in the Huffington Post, Bill Lucey had a great piece chronicling the historical use of recess appointments by Presidents, "Examining the ‘Recess of the Senate’".
- "White House: No Recess Appointments During Next Week’s Break" — ShopFloor.org
- "Obama’s Love of Labor Makes for One Unholy Union: Kevin Hassett" — BusinessWeek
- "Recess Posting Possible" — Wall Street Journal