In a late afternoon vote, the Senate on Monday confirmed the nomination of Lauren McFerran to serve as member of the National Labor Relations Board. The final tally was 54-40 along party lines. McFerran – who will replace outgoing member Nancy Schiffer – will remain a member of the Board until December 16, 2019.
McFerran's nomination came as a surprise to many, as former recess appointee Sharon Block had been President Obama's original choice to replace Schiffer. The President unexpectedly withdrew her nomination on November 12. Although Block and McFerran, currently chief labor counsel to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), likely share a common ideology regarding labor unions, McFerran carries less political baggage. During a HELP Committee hearing to consider McFerran's nomination, Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN) considered the withdrawal of Block's nomination a "gesture of respect" to the Senate following the Supreme Court's decision in Noel Canning holding that Block's recess appointment was unconstitutional.
Now that the Board is assured continued operation with three Democratic and two Republican members for the near future, there is less of an urgency to issue the controversial expedited or "quickie" election rule, or publish decisions on an array of divisive issues. McFerran's confirmation will not, however, delay the issuance of these rules, decisions, and other initiatives indefinitely.
The other Board members and their term expiration dates are:
- Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce (D) – August 27, 2018
- Kent Y. Hirozawa (D) -- August 27, 2016
- Philip A. Miscimarra (R) -- December 16, 2017
- Harry I. Johnson, III (R) -- August 27, 2015