WASHINGTON, D.C. | February 13, 2013 -
House Republicans leaders today urged President Obama to work with the U.S. Senate to confirm four qualified individuals to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The letter is in response to a unanimous decision by a federal appeals court that ruled President Obama’s controversial recess appointments to the board unconstitutional. The Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing today on the NLRB appointments, during which witnesses described how the president’s action has tainted the board’s work.
The letter, signed by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN), and Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN), states:
Should you fail to work with the Senate to confirm a constitutionally confirmed quorum, the resulting uncertainty will cause serious harm to employers and their workers at a time our country can least afford it. The authority of the Board governs virtually every private workplace across the country, affecting the lives of hundreds of millions of workers and employers. The Department of Labor announced this month that the national unemployment rate increased, leaving more than 12 million Americans searching for work. Greater uncertainty would only exacerbate the jobs crisis plaguing the nation.
Upon announcing these unconstitutional recess appointments, you stated the “American people deserve to have qualified public servants fighting for them every day…” With unemployment remaining unacceptably high, we could not agree more. We look forward to your immediate nomination of four qualified individuals and collaboration with Senators from both parties to confirm them expeditiously.
The Republican leaders also sent a letter to NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce, insisting the board cease all activity until members suficient to meet a quorum are confirmed by the U.S. Senate or the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the appointments. The letters from Republican leaders are part of a broad effort to mend a dysfunctional federal labor board. To read the full letters, click here and here.
BACKGROUND: In January 2012, President Obama installed three recess appointments to the board while Congress was regularly meeting in pro forma session. The president’s appointments were unprecedented and legal challenges were filed in federal court questioning whether they were constitutionally valid. In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia determined that intrasession recess appointments – including the president’s NLRB appointments – are unconstitutional. Actions by the board are now under a cloud of legal uncertainty that will negatively affect America’s workers and job creators.
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