On September 15, 2011, the House of Representatives passed The Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act (H.R. 2587) which would prohibit the National Labor Relations Board from ordering any employer to close, relocate, or transfer a business. The Democratic majority in the Senate caused many to reasonably ask whether the House action mattered, as the bill has little chance of success in being passed in that chamber. 

But in this political season, nothing can be taken for granted.  On September 20, Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) introduced the bill as an amendment  to S. 1599, the Labor-HHS Appropriations bill for FY 2012.  Hitched to that broader legislation, the issue’s prospects found themselves dependent first on the action of the Appropriations Committee, and its 16-14 Democratic majority. 

Yesterday, Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) joined the fourteen Republican Senators on the Committee in voting for the amendment — but the opposition of the other fifteen Democrats resulted in the measure’s failure. 

As noted above, and elsewhere, the Democrats still hold a majority in the Senate — even with some conservative caucus members willing to depart the party-line.  That reality and President Obama’s veto pen pose significant obstacles to enactment of Republican-backed House labor law bills.  But the unique circumstances surrounding the Board — soon to be unable to act without a quorum of members, absent further Senate action — during the highly charged political season already upon us may well continue to cause curious and unconventional legislative and administrative maneuvering to accomplish various ends.

Stay tuned…

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