President Barack Obama reportedly has withdrawn former-National Labor Relations Board member Sharon Block’s nomination to the NLRB to replace Nancy Schiffer, whose term expires on December 16, 2014. Obama instead will nominate Lauren McFerran, chief labor counsel for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Block’s renomination earlier this year has met with significant Republican opposition — she was one of the three NLRB members whose January 2012 recess appointments were held to be invalid in the Supreme Court’s Noel Canning decision. Block left the NLRB in August 2013.
It is unclear whether McFerran’s nomination will be taken up by the Senate before the 114th Congress is seated in 2015 with a Republican majority. The Democrats have the Senate votes to confirm a nominee until January 1, 2015. However, commenters say the White House will reserve that strategy for more significant nominations, perhaps for Attorney General. (Note that the GOP no longer has the filibuster rule to rely on to stop the majority from confirming a nomination.)
McFerran will need to be confirmed by the time Schiffer leaves the Board or there will be a 2-2 ideological tie. It has been suggested that the Democrats will move quickly to confirm McFerran, even though the White House did not want to do that for Block. The change in nominees may be something of an olive branch to the GOP, which has strenuously opposed Block, ostensibly because she did not resign when her recess appointment was called into doubt.
Since she is presently Chief Counsel for the Democratic-controlled HELP Committee, it is not a given that that committee will report favorably on her nomination once a Republican majority is seated in 2015.