Obama to Nominate Package of Labor Board Members

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The White House hopes that Senate Republicans will favor the five-member package nomination of two Republicans and three Democrats. Both Republican nominees have passed muster with GOP leadership.

“I urge the Senate to confirm them swiftly so that this bipartisan board can continue its important work on behalf of the American people,” Obama said in a statement.

The president claimed that he made the recess appointments last year while the Senate was on a break. But the appeals court panel ruled that a recess occurs only during the breaks between formal yearlong sessions of Congress, not just any informal break. It also ruled that a vacancy must come into being during a recess in order to be valid.

The White House says the first-of-its-kind ruling runs contrary to more than 150 years of practice and would invalidate hundreds of recess appointments in Democratic and Republican administrations.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka expressed his support for the five-nominee package, noting it includes Republicans “who have views on labor relations matters that we do not agree with. But working people need and deserve a functioning NLRB, and confirmation of a full package will provide that stability.”

Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America, urged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to move the nominations quickly.

“If the nominations are blocked by the Republican minority, Majority Leader Reid must be ready to confront that obstructionism to keep this agency functioning,” Cohen said.

House Republicans are expected to pass a measure this week that would prevent the NLRB from conducting business until the Senate confirms new members constituting a quorum or the U.S. Supreme Court decides the board has the authority to act. But the measure is not expected to make any headway in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

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