Earlier today, President Obama announced that he would make recess appointments of nominees Craig Becker and Mark Gaston Pearce to the National Labor Relations Board. CNN reports that White House deputy communications director Jen Psaki highlighted these appointments:
"The roadblocks we’ve seen in the Senate have left some government agencies like the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission impaired in fulfilling their mission," Psaki wrote. "These agencies can now get back to working for the American people."
The National Labor Relations Board issued a press release announcing the moves as well::
President Barack Obama today announced the recess appointments of attorneys Craig Becker and Mark Gaston Pearce to fill two vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board.
NLRB Chairman Wilma Liebman, who has served on the Board for 12 years, welcomed the new members saying, “I look forward to beginning work with them, and especially to addressing cases that have been pending for a long time.” Three of the Board’s five seats have been vacant since January 2008. The two remaining members – Chairman Liebman and Member Peter Schaumber – have issued decisions in nearly 600 cases in which they have been able to agree. Last week, the Supreme Court heard argument in a case challenging the Board’s authority to have issued decisions with two members.
The appointment of Becker, a former Associate General Counsel for the AFL-CIO and SEIU, has been the source of much controversy. Back in February. Democratic Senators failed to break a filibuster on Mr. Becker’s nomination —with both Republicans and Democrats voting against cloture. Republicans immediately siezed on this point tonight as Democrats attempted to paint the President’s moves as necessary response to GOP obstructionism:
"The president’s decision to override bipartisan Senate rejection of Craig Becker’s nomination is yet another episode of choosing a partisan path despite bipartisan opposition," said U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. "This is a purely partisan move that will make a traditionally bipartisan labor board an unbalanced agenda-driven panel."
Moreover, President Obama had nominated three potential members to the Board — Messrs. Becker and Pearce, and Republican Brian Hayes. The Senate failed to confirm any of them, although business groups and Republicans made clear that they had no opposition to Pearce and Hayes. Yet, the President chose today to appoint only Becker and Pearce — leaving open a fifth spot which has been vacant since December 2007.
- "Obama Uses Recess Appointments To Fill 15 Posts" — Washington Post
- "A Few Other Notes About Recess Appointments to the NLRB" — ShopFloor.org
- "Senate Gone, Obama Seats Nominees" — Politico
- "U.S. Chamber: Becker Appointment ‘Contradicts’ President’s Pledge to Change Washington" — The Hill‘s Blog Briefing Room