GOP Senators, SC Gov. Nikki Haley call on Obama to address NLRB’s Boeing case

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham demanded President Barack Obama explain why he hired Bill Daley, a former Boeing Company board member, as his chief of staff and why he named Boeing president James McNerney to lead his Export Council. Graham also asked the president to publicly state if he agrees with his chief of staff’s and Export Council head’s private sector business decisions. If Obama doesn’t publicly state that, Daley’s and McNerney’s actions at Boeing could be viewed as a “violation of the law” if the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) succeeds in its complaints against Boeing according to Graham. Graham added that an NLRB victory would mean Obama hires “union-busters” in his White House.

“In January 2011, Mr. Daley was chosen by President Obama to be his chief of staff,” Graham said. “One would have to assume that the vetters at the White House understood that there was a complaint being filed against Mr. Daley’s actions as a board member [for Boeing] and they had to conclude there was no merit to it.” Graham said the same goes for McNerney’s nomination.

The NLRB is currently pushing a complaint that accuses the Boeing Company of “illegal activity” for opening a new airplane manufacturing facility in South Carolina, instead of opening it in Washington State, where current facilities are. The new facility, which is now completed, is intended to be an addition to Boeing’s existing plant in Washington, and no jobs are set to be lost there. Daley voted in favor of opening the new South Carolina production line when on the board and McNerney led Boeing into the new state.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Graham and fellow GOP Sens. Jim DeMint, South Carolina, Rand Paul, Kentucky and Lamar Alexander, Tennessee, ripped the NLRB and Obama for the policies that they consider to be killing jobs at a Tuesday morning U.S. Chamber of Commerce press conference. Haley said she’d “stand with any other governor nationwide” who goes through what her state’s going through right now, and Graham, DeMint, Paul and Alexander called on Obama to rescind his NLRB recess appointments, Craig Becker and Lafe Solomon.

Haley and the others at the presser are “demanding” that Obama respond to what the NLRB has done. She said the NLRB and Obama’s recess-appointed members’ decisions “goes against everything we know in our American economy to date.”

“This is an issue that may have started in South Carolina, but we want to make sure it never touches another state,” Haley said. “Because, while they started with South Carolina, they’re going to end with South Carolina. While they started with Boeing, they’re going to end with Boeing.”

Paul asked if Obama had an “enemies list.” “Is this decision based on the fact that South Carolina appears to be a Republican state because it has two Republican Senators?” Paul said. “Is this decision based on the fact that South Carolina is a right-to-work state? Are they are on your ‘enemies list?’”

Paul said Obama might next start “punishing contractors who have given money to Republican candidates.” “I’m concerned,” Paul said. “I have two Republican Senators from Kentucky. Are we on your ‘enemies list?’ Is Alabama on your ‘enemies list?’ Is Texas on your ‘enemies list?’ Are we going to use the full power and bully nature of government to say business cannot be located in a state that might happen to vote Republican? I find this appalling and I respectfully ask the president to immediately rescind this assault on business.”

The NLRB, technically, is independent of the administration and of the Congress as it can choose which cases to pursue without any outside influence. But, Haley and Graham said the “independent” argument doesn’t absolve Obama as he can rescind Becker’s and Solomon’s nominations immediately and appoint board members who actually make it through the Senate’s advise and consent process. Haley calls the independent argument a “cop-out.”

DeMint said he doesn’t think Solomon, Becker and the NLRB expect to win against Boeing, but that tying the company up with millions of dollars in legal fees and potentially years of hearings and procedures, they’re effectively beating down on Boeing. “This cannot be allowed to stand,” DeMint said. “It is thuggery at its best.”

Alexander, DeMint, Graham and Paul also announced they’ll be introducing the Right to Work Protection Act, which would stop the NLRB from taking on such extreme cases. Alexander said the bill’s intention is to “preserve” current law, not attack unions or force states to become “right to work.”