It was in November that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and his cohorts made it the U.S. Senate’s official policy to ignore longstanding chamber rules allowing extended debates over all presidential nominees except potential U.S. Supreme Court justices (see this month’s cover story).
But an almost equally brazen power grab nearly happened back in July. Last summer, Mr. Reid came within a hair of effectively prohibiting extended debates over the President’s executive-branch nominations.
Ultimately, he got what he wanted without ever having to pull the trigger on extended debates, which according to Senate rules reaffirmed as recently as January 2013 may be sustained with the support of 41 or more out of 100 senators.
Reid Promises Have Short Shelf Life
On July 16, a handful of weak-kneed establishment GOP senators cut a deal with Mr. Reid.
They promised not to support extended debates against a number of Obama nominees, including the President’s picks for all five National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) slots, and Mr. Reid vowed not to strip them, for the time being, of the ability to conduct extended debates against any nominee.
Three months later, Mr. Reid’s part of the bargain was, not surprisingly, already defunct.
But the five Senate-confirmed Obama appointees on the NLRB are, as NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce told a conference of union-label lawyers gathered in New Orleans November 8, “all in place” and “ready to go.” Until he was originally appointed to the NLRB by Mr. Obama in 2010, Mr. Pearce was a union lawyer in private practice in Buffalo, N.Y.
Two New Appointees Picked ‘In Consultation With’ AFL-CIO Czar Richard Trumka
And two of the new NLRB members handpicked by the President and rubber-stamped by the Senate have similarly partisan Big Labor backgrounds.
Until her appointment, Nancy Schiffer was an AFL-CIO associate general counsel.
And Kent Hirozawa is an ex-union lawyer who was Mr. Pearce’s chief counsel prior to becoming a board member.
According to a report appearing in Politico this past summer, the White House chose both of these rabid proponents of compulsory unionism for NLRB posts “in consultation with AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka.”
National Right to Work Committee Vice President Greg Mourad observed:
“During the first five years of the Obama Administration, both a lack of confirmed NLRB appointees and federal court resistance to its power grabs hindered the agency from imposing sweeping changes to decades-old procedures under which Big Labor may obtain monopoly-bargaining power over workers.”
Union Bosses Want NLRB to Give Them Access to Union-Free Workers’ Phone Numbers
Mr. Mourad continued: “Now, because extended Senate debates no longer inhibit in any way President Obama’s ability to pack the NLRB and federal district and appellate courts with Big Labor activist bureaucrats and judges, the regulatory rewrite of federal labor law is very likely to move ahead at full speed.
“Among the proposals the NLRB is likely to ram through soon are new rules mandating that employers hand over employee phone numbers and e-mail addresses to union organizers at the outset of each certification campaign.
“Fortunately, the Republican House leaders who have been sharply critical of the Obama NLRB’s excesses and will control Congress’s lower chamber at least until January 2015 retain the power to rein in this rogue agency.”
Mr. Mourad vowed to work closely this winter with Capitol Hill allies to see how Congress’s power over the federal purse strings can be used to stop NLRB bureaucrats in their tracks.
“House leaders who are on the record as forced-unionism foes can refuse to pass legislation funding the NLRB unless the agency’s attacks on Right to Work come to a halt,” Mr. Mourad explained. “The only question is whether GOP leaders have the will.”