In response to a move by House and Senate Republicans to block the NLRB’s “quickie election” rules, scheduled to take effect on April 14, 2015, National Labor Relations Board Chairman Mark G. Pearce issued the following statement on February 9:
“The Board remains committed to the critical work of this agency and fully carrying out the law . . . As Congress considers this resolution, this Agency will continue productive conversations about the rule ensuring that our processes help fulfill the promise of the National Labor Relations Act.
“However, it is undeniable that modernizing and streamlining the representation-case process is far overdue. Both businesses and workers deserve a process that is effective, fair, and free of unnecessary delays, which is exactly what this rule strives to accomplish.”
The legislators are challenging the new rule under the Congressional Review Act, enacted in 1996. According to the Center for Effective Government, the CRA allows Congress to review “major” rules, like the quickie election rule, issued by federal agencies before the rules take effect. Under the CRA, if a member of Congress finds an agency rule objectionable, he can introduce a “resolution of disapproval.” The resolution is put to a vote in both Houses of Congress, and if it passes, goes to the President for action. The President retains the right to veto the measure, however. According to a January 19, 2015, article in The Hill, “GOP Finds its Secret Weapon,” “[l]awmakers have only struck down one rule under the Congressional Review Act in 43 attempts, according to the Government Accountability Office. In 2001, Republicans repealed the Clinton administration’s controversial ergonomics rule aimed at curbing workplace injuries.” (The Center for Effective Government claims there have been 97 joint resolutions of disapproval.)
The President is expected to veto the resolution if it passes. It also is unlikely that Congress will be able to muster the two-thirds vote necessary to override that veto.