Organized labor is increasing pressure on the White House to support the nomination of labor lawyer Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board. Becker’s nomination was stalled in the Senate this week when two Democrats joined Republicans in opposition.
Labor advocates are incensed over a deal struck by the White House that led Republican senators to release holds on 27 of 63 “high-level nominees” for positions in the federal government on Thursday. In return Obama promised not to make any appointments during the upcoming recess.
“While this is a good first step, there are still dozens of nominees on hold who deserve a similar vote, and I will be looking for action from the Senate when it returns from recess,” Obama said. “If they do not act, I reserve the right to use my recess appointment authority in the future.”
White House officials confirmed to The Daily Caller that Obama would not use his recess powers next week to appoint Becker, but were clear that the use of recess appointments was not off the table in the future.
Releasing the holds was a strong tactical move for the GOP, allowing them to blunt accusations that they are stalling even non-controversial presidential appointees. The move also opens the White House to attacks from the left, where he is increasingly under pressure from labor advocates who feel short-changed after playing a crucial role in Obama’s campaign.
On Friday afternoon, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka lashed out at the White House for cutting a deal with Republicans that leaves unions “out in the cold” and pushed for President Obama to use recess appointments to fill the NLRB vacancies.
“Today and every day through the congressional recess, union members and other activists from working America will be calling the White House and demanding a recess appointment now for Craig Becker and Mark Pearce,” wrote Trumka at Huffington Post.
Jon Ward contributed reporting to this article.