On Thursday, all 41 Republican senators signed a letter written by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and John McCain (R-AZ) urging President Obama not to appoint Craig Becker to be a member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over the upcoming two-week recess. Expectation has been building that Obama would use this method to seat Becker on the Board over the legislative break. In a statement, Sen. Hatch claimed:
Craig Becker stands far outside the mainstream of NLRB nominees . . . Given the bipartisan opposition to his nomination, the Administration would be wise to not circumvent the will of the Senate by recess appointing him to the NLRB. There is no place on this powerful board for someone who believes that card check legislation – getting rid of the secret union ballot – can be enacted surreptitiously through regulation.
Specifically, the letter highlights Becker’s “extensive, highly controversial” academic writings that, the senators claim, question his ability to be impartial. The senators allege that Becker’s writings “clearly indicate that he would use his position on the NLRB to institute far-reaching changes in labor law far exceeding the Board’s authority and bypassing the role of Congress.” In addition, the letter emphasizes the fact that as a lawyer for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the AFL-CIO, Becker would be required to recuse himself from many cases before the NLRB due to a legal or ethical conflict.
The White House has not officially responded to this letter, nor given further indication of its intent regarding Becker’s appointment. If he is in fact appointed, Becker’s term would expire at end of the legislative session, unless the Senate votes to confirm him for a full five-year term.
Photo credit: style-photographs