David Dayen at over at our News Desk reports that Tom Harkin is telling folks Craig Becker will get a recess appointment in the next week or so.
Earlier this month, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis intimated that Craig Becker, a nominee for the currently non-functioning National Labor Relations Board, would get a recess appointment to the body. Now Tom Harkin is saying the same thing, telling CQ “It’s going to happen” during the Easter recess, set to begin March 26, or whenever the reconciliation bill is completed in the Senate.
About frickin’ time. Even Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, in a hearing of a case about the validity of the NLRB’s decisions with just a two-member board, wondered why Obama just doesn’t solve the NLRB’s problem by using recess appointments. From Slate’s accounting of the Court proceedings yesterday.
Ginsburg asks about the status of the three dangling nominees. Katyal replies that, “They were named in July of last year. They were voted out of committee in October. One of them had a hold and had to be renominated. That renomination took place. There was a failed cloture vote in February. And so all three nominations are pending.” He adds, “I think that underscores the general contentious nature of the appointment process with respect to this set of issues.”
The last twist of the knife comes from straight the chief justice, who asks mildly, “And the recess appointment power doesn’t work why?” Katyal admits that the recess appointments process, which allows the president to fill up the board with his temporary appointments while the Senate is out of session, works just fine. It’s the president who has been unwilling to pull the trigger.
One has to imagine this was negotiated as some condition between labor and the White House during the health care fight. Labor’s held up their end of the bargain. Here’s hoping the White House and President Obama holds up theirs.