Labor Appointments at Ground Zero of Nuclear Option Fight
by Bill Straub
WASHINGTON – A showdown is looming over President Obama’s nominations to fill three vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board, and Democrats may prove willing to play a wild card in order to get the job done.
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid announced that he intends to employ the “nuclear option” if Republicans continue to block consideration of the board’s five nominees – change Senate rules to prohibit the filibustering of White House choices for administration posts, meaning nominees will be required to garner only 50 votes as opposed to the current 60 for confirmation.
“We shouldn’t be waiting around here for months and months to get a vote on a nomination,” Reid said by way of explanation.
But Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, maintains Reid is caving in to threats from organized labor. Union leaders have expressed concern that the board will cease functioning and be rendered impotent in resolving labor disputes if the open positions aren’t filled by the end of August.
“I know Washington Democrats are getting a lot of pressure from big labor union bosses and other far left elements of their base to do this,” McConnell said. “These folks have told Democrats it’s time to pay up, and they don’t have much time for things like the democratic process or the rule of law. They raised a ton of money for Democrats, and now they want the special-interest treatment they believe is owed to them. That’s why we see the other side cooking up phony nomination fights — because they want to go nuclear, but they know the facts simply aren’t on their side to justify doing so.”
The claim that Obama’s nominees are being treated unfairly “is essentially at odds with reality,” McConnell said. Republicans are opposing the NLRB nominees because they already are serving on the board, placed there as a result of the president utilizing what the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found were unconstitutional recess appointments.
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