Two nominees to the National Labor Relations Board were among 15 recess appointments announced by President Obama on March 27.
Craig Becker and Mark Pearce had strong support from the nation’s unions, but Republicans had held up their approval in the U.S. Senate. Unlike appointments that are confirmed by the Senate, recess appointments only last until the end of the next session of Congress, which right now would mean until the end of 2011.
“The United States Senate has the responsibility to approve or disapprove of my nominees. But if, in the interest of scoring political points, Republicans in the Senate refuse to exercise that responsibility, I must act in the interest of the American people and exercise my authority to fill these positions on an interim basis,” Obama said in a statement.
“Most of the men and women whose appointments I am announcing today were approved by Senate committees months ago, yet still await a vote of the Senate,” Obama said. “I simply cannot allow partisan politics to stand in the way of the basic functioning of government.”
GOP opposition to Obama‘s nominees had left the National Labor Relations Board with only two of its five members, a recipe for complete dysfunction.
The appointments announced by Obama were being held up for a variety of frivolous reasons. Two nominees to trade posts were being blocked by Kentucky Republican Sen. Jim Bunning because he is opposed to a tobacco-related law passed by the Canadian Parliament.