By a 13-9 vote largely along party lines, the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee on September 17 recommended President Obama's nominee, Democrat Sharon Block, to fill a seat on the NLRB for a term to begin in mid-December 2014, replacing Nancy Schiffer, also a Democrat. A full Senate vote on Ms. Block's nomination is expected shortly after the November elections but before any possible loss of the Democrats' control of the Senate. Because of recent changes in Senate rules that will allow a confirmation vote to occur with only a simple majority required for cutting off debate, Ms. Block is expected to be confirmed.
Some Republican senators have opposed Ms. Block's nomination because she was one of the President's 2012 "recess appointees" who chose to remain on the Board, participating in cases despite the Noel Canningproceedings, which culminated in a decision from the Supreme Court that the appointments were unconstitutional and invalid. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the ranking Republican on the HELP Committee, said during hearings that Ms. Block showed a lack of respect for the Constitution and the principle of separation of powers by remaining on the Board while Noel Canning was pending.