Craig Becker Nomination Defeated As Cloture Vote Fails
The Senate voted against invoking cloture on Obama appointee Craig Becker, a nominee for the National Labor Relations Board. The final vote was 52-33, with all Republicans opposed, including Scott Brown, who claimed to be “undecided” last week. Among Democrats, both Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln voted against Becker, an associate general counsel for the SEIU and the AFL-CIO, for the five-person board, which currently only holds two members. Because the Becker nomination was paired with two other nominees, a vote against him is essentially a vote to keep the NLRB in a non-functional state. Some other Democrats were unable to make the vote, owing to the weather in Washington, DC. When a final roll call is available, I’ll link to it.
The AFL-CIO attacked Nelson for his hypocrisy in opposing cloture on Becker; they’d better get out the mimeograph machine and send that to Blanche Lincoln as well.
UPDATE: In his press conference today, the President said that if qualified nominees were obstructed by the Senate, he would have to resort to a recess appointment as soon as next week. He now has a chance with Craig Becker, if he chooses.
Earlier today, Sam Stein noted that Democrats joining this filibuster will complicate efforts to paint the obstructionism as solely a partisan act.
UPDATE II: The AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka’s statement on the Becker nomination kinda, sorta, almost outright says that the President should recess-appoint him:
It is reprehensible that a minority in the U.S. Senate has blocked an up-or-down vote on Craig Becker, nominated seven months ago by President Obama to serve on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Once again, a Republican-led filibuster has put political interests over the needs of America ’s working families. For more than two years, the NLRB has had only two of its five members. Without a fully staffed NLRB, working families face a major disadvantage in winning justice in the workplace.
Becker is a highly-respected and experienced labor law practitioner and scholar. He has an impressive 27-year record of advocating for and representing workers, especially low-wage workers. He is eminently qualified to hear and decide cases fairly for both workers and employers as a member of the NLRB.
This is yet another instance of Washington politics-as-usual that so frustrates the American public. Americans deserve a government fully staffed by qualified, dedicated public servants with integrity – and leaders willing to put the interests of working families over politics and corporate influence.
We support President Obama’s expressed willingness to make recess appointments of critical posts in the federal government if that’s what it takes to get around minority delay and obstruction. There are currently more than 60 political nominees being held up by the Republican minority in the Senate – at this point in the Bush Administration, only four nominees were still in limbo.