On January 20, 2010, President Obama resubmitted the nomination of controversial union attorney Craig Becker for a seat on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). We reported several weeks ago that the Senate had sent Mr. Becker’s nomination back to the White House rather than holding the nomination for consideration when the Senate returned to session. See NLRB Nominee Becker Update. As we previously reported, the nominations of Mark G. Pearce and Brian E. Hayes were held over for the Senate’s 2010 session. Now, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will have to approve Mr. Becker again before his name can be submitted to the full Senate for a vote.
Within days of resubmission of Mr. Becker’s nomination, business groups called on the HELP Committee to hold a formal hearing on Mr. Becker. Last year, the HELP Committee rebuffed a similar request for a hearing on Mr. Becker’s nomination made by Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.). If the HELP Committee approves Mr. Becker again, Senator McCain or another senator could place another hold on his nomination.
The five-member NLRB has had three vacancies for more than 18 months. Senate leaders announced last year that the Senate would vote on the President’s NLRB nominees as a package. In the event of another hold, Senate leaders could still attempt to maneuver the NLRB nominations to a floor vote. Such action could well serve as a litmus test of the impact of the election of Massachusetts Republican State Senator Scott Brown to fill the vacant Senate seat formerly held by Senator Ted Kennedy. Mr. Brown’s election eliminated the Senate Democrats’ super-majority of 60 votes.