Typical behavior in politics is to make the most objectionable appointments during Congressional Recess. The self proclaimed post partisan president takes a page out of President Bush playbook. A book he campaigned against. So much for fundamental change coming to Washington. Looks like more of the same from this reporters desk.
Despite intense Republican objections, President Obama on Saturday used recess appointments to fill 15 administration posts without Senate confirmation, including Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board.
By filling the jobs while Congress is in recess, Obama gets around Senate confirmation. Obama justified the move by charging Republicans with playing politics with his administration nominees.
“The United States Senate has the responsibility to approve or disapprove of my nominees. But if, in the interest of scoring political points, Republicans in the Senate refuse to exercise that responsibility, I must act in the interest of the American people and exercise my authority to fill these positions on an interim basis,” he said in a written statement.
All 41 Senate Republicans wrote Obama this week urging him not to use a recess appointment for Becker, a former top lawyer with Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO, whose nomination was rejected by the Senate last month, 52-43.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also wrote Obama on behalf of 20 business groups that opposed Becker’s nomination and decried the recess appointment.
“This recess appointment disregards the Senate’s bipartisan rejection of Craig Becker’s nomination to the NLRB,” Chamber Vice President Randel Johnson said in a written statement.
“Overriding the will of the Senate and providing this special interest payback contradicts the president’s claim to change the tone in Washington,” he said. “The business community should be on red alert for radical changes that could significantly impair the ability of America’s job creators to compete.”
But White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki cast the opposition of Becker’s nomination as part of an “unprecedented level of obstruction in the Senate” that had left “key economic positions unfilled, especially at time when our country is recovering from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.”
Psaki said the five-member labor board had been trying to operate with only two members.
“The roadblocks we’ve seen in the Senate have left some government agencies like the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission impaired in fulfilling their mission,” she said in a statement. “These agencies can now get back to working for the American people.”
The Senate’s top Democrat, Harry Reid, welcomed Obama’s move. “Regrettably, Senate Republicans have dedicated themselves to a failed strategy to cripple President Obama’s economic initiatives by stalling key administration nominees at every turn,” said Reid, the majority leader from Nevada.
But Republicans say Becker isn’t working for all Americans.