Senate GOP Unveils Anti-NLRB Bill

WASHINGTON —Eleven Senate Republicans have introduced a bill to virtually shut down the National Labor Relations Board.

Led by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the top GOPer on the Senate Labor Committee, the group wants to ban the board from making any decisions until it has a legal quorum of at least three members confirmed by the Senate.

The Right Wing in the GOP-run House jammed through an identical shutdown and ban late last month, by a 219-209 margin, with 10 Republicans there defecting from the anti-worker party line and joining all 199 Democrats in opposing the measure.

The Office of Management and Budget has already announced it will recommend Democratic President Barack Obama veto the anti-NLRB bill should it reach his desk.

And the AFL-CIO, in a letter to lawmakers, strongly opposed the legislation. Legislative Director Bill Samuel said the Senate should do its constitutional duty and confirm Obama’s nominees to the NLRB, which oversees labor-management relations.

During the House debate on the anti-NLRB bill, several Democrats called the measure part of the Republican anti-worker crusade, whose objective is to destroy unions and collective bargaining in the U.S., while eroding the middle class.

Left unsaid in the GOP’s statement is that GOP filibusters blocked Obama’s NLRB nominees, forcing him to appoint two board members during Senate recesses. A GOP-president-named federal court panel ruled in January that the “recess appointees,” and the hundreds of decisions they’ve voted on since Jan. 2012, are illegal.

Obama nominated those recess appointees, Democrats Sharon Block and Richard Griffin – a former union general counsel – for regular board seats. They, plus his two GOP nominees, both pro-boss lawyers, will face a Senate Labor Committee confirmation hearing on May 16. So will current board Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce, the only non-recess NLRB member. Obama nominated him for a new term.

“The NLRB has traditionally made major policy changes and interpretations only with the affirmative votes of at least three board members, typically from a full 5-member board. Yet, even with unconstitutionally recess-appointed board members, the board continues to issue decisions overruling well-established precedent and replacing it with new policy favored by the administration’s supporters,” Alexander claimed.

GOP co-sponsors of the anti-NLRB bill include Sens. Roy Blunt (Mo.), Mark Kirk (Ill.) and Pat Roberts (Kansas), all Labor Committee members. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who is considering a 2016 GOP presidential race, is also a co-sponsor.