Ben Nelson just issued a statement saying he’ll vote no on cloture for Craig Becker tomorrow, joining the Republican filibuster.
“Mr. Becker’s previous statements strongly indicate that he would take an aggressive personal agenda to the NLRB, and that he would pursue a personal agenda there, rather than that of the Administration,” said Senator Nelson. “This is of great concern, considering that the Board’s main responsibility is to resolve labor disputes with an even and impartial hand. In addition, the nominee’s statements fly in the face of Nebraska’s Right to Work laws, which have been credited in part with our excellent business climate that has attracted employers and many good jobs to Nebraska. Considering these matters, I will oppose the upcoming cloture motion and the nomination.”
Nelson’s statement cites Becker’s past pretty much verbatim from a Chamber or NAM press release. This makes a maximum of 58 votes for Becker, making Enzi and Murkowski’s votes essential.
Let’s pick apart Nelson’s opposition, shall we?
Nelson claims that Becker would bring “an aggressive personal agenda to the NLRB,” rather than that of the Obama Administration. How does that make any sense, when it’s the Obama administration that nominated him twice? Beyond that, Becker repeatedly said at his hearing that there is a stark difference between his previous scholarly works and what is required of a fair, impartial judge on the NLRB.
Next, Nelson says, “the Board’s main responsibility is to resolve labor disputes with an even and impartial hand.” So Nelson is going to help the Board on its mission by filibustering its nominees. Brilliant!
Finally, Nelson claims Becker’s statements “fly in the face of Nebraska’s Right to Work laws.” One, “right to work (for less)” laws didn’t come up in the hearing nor have his previous statements reflected on the topic. Two, Becker, in response to GOP questions on the topic submitted in writing, affirmed that that is the law and should be respected where it is law. So what’s the problem?
The problem is Ben Nelson wants the Chamber of Commerce, NAM, and other corporate groups to pad his pockets for his 2012 race. That’s it. Workers be damned.
UPDATE: Here’s a statement from the AFL-CIO via Sam Stein at HuffPo:
“It’s a shame and a disappointment that Senator Nelson is willing to continue to leave working families without a fully staffed NLRB,” said Eddie Vale, a spokesman for the AFL-CIO. “Becker is an eminently qualified nominee. Its pretty confusing and circular logic that Nelson contends he wouldn’t represent the administrations agenda, when he was nominated by the administration, twice.”