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‘Obama’s Recess Threat’

The Obama administration is reportedly looking more closely at recess appointments for some nominees who’ve been mowed down by filibusters, with Sen. Richard Shelby’s (R-Ala.) holds and the self-parodying filibuster of National Labor Relations Board nominee Craig Becker — it only took 33 votes to block him on a snowy half-workday — lighting a fire. The RNC is putting out a preemptive attack on that, and it’s worth reading to get a sense of just how the party is ready to frame this as a hypocritical and unfair denial of its right to block, basically, everything. Notably, many of their examples of Democratic quotes come from the period when the party had a Senate majority.

In An Arrogant Attempt To Implement Job-Killing Regulations Through SEIU/ACORN Lawyer Craig Becker, Obama Will Use Tactic He And Fellow Dems Blasted As “Abuse Of Power”******

ROLL CALL**: “The Senate voted down one of President Barack Obama’s nominees Tuesday, hours after Obama warned he would use his recess appointment power to get members of his team in place if necessary. The senate voted 52-33 against a procedural motion to move to the nomination of Craig Becker, the controversial pick tapped to serve on the National Labor Relations Board.”*** *(Jessica Brady, “Senate Rejects A Nominee As Obama Threatens Recess Appointments,” Roll Call, 2/9/10)


**Senate Rejected Obama’s Nominee To National Labor Relations Board, Craig Becker. **(Cloture Motion On Craig Becker, Of Illinois, To Be A Member Of The National Labor Relations Board, Senate Roll Call Vote #22, Rejected 52-33, D 50-2, R 0-33, 2/9/10)

  • Becker Works As Lawyer For SEIU, AFL-CIO And ACORN. “Becker [is] an associate general counsel to both the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the AFL-CIO”; “Mr. Becker says he ‘worked with and provided advice’ to SEIU Local 880 in Chicago … one of two SEIU locals currently in the national spotlight for its deep ties with Acorn … Acorn co-founder Wade Rathke praised Mr. Becker by name … ‘For my money, Craig’s signal contribution has been his work in crafting and executing the legal strategies and protections which have allowed the effective organization of informal workers …” (Kevin Bogardus, “Labor Board Nominee Heats Up Battle Over Union-Organizing Rules, The Hill, 01/25/10; Editorial, “Acorn’s Ally At The NLRB,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/15/09)

That’s Why Obama Said “If The Senate Does Not Act To Confirm These Nominees, I Will Consider Making Several Recess Appointments During The Upcoming Recess …” (President Barack Obama, Remarks During Press Briefing, The White House, 2/9/10)

**Becker’s Confirmation Could Mean Card Check Legislation Being “Realized Through The Rule-Making Power Of The NLRB,” Potentially Killing 1.5 Million Jobs Per Year. **“[F]or every 3 percentage points gained in union membership through card checks and mandatory arbitration, the following year’s unemployment rate is predicted to increase by 1 percentage point and job creation is predicted to fall by around 1.5 million jobs.” (Dmitri Iglitzin and Steven Hill, “Obama’s Pro-Union Nominations to Labor Relations Board Stalled,” The Huffington Post, 01/25/10; Anne Layne-Farrar, “An Empirical Assessment of the Employee Free Choice Act: The Economic Implications,” SSRN.com 3/4/09)

  • **Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) Voted Against Becker, Saying He Would Bring “An Aggressive Personal Agenda To The NLRB.” **(Sen. Ben Nelson, “Senator Nelson Will Oppose Nominee With Personal Agenda,” Press Release, 2/8/10)


**In 2005, Obama Called Recess Appointment “Wrong Thing To Do.” **“It’s the wrong thing to do. John Bolton is the wrong person for the job,” said Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., a member of Foreign Relations Committee. “The president is entitled to take that action, but I don’t think it will serve American foreign policy well.” (Jennifer Loven, “Officials: White House To Bypass Congress For Bolton Nomination,” The Associated Press, 7/30/05)

  • Obama Called Recess Appointee “Damaged Goods,” Claimed Appointee Would “Have Less Credibility.” “‘To some degree, he’s damaged goods,’ Obama said of Bolton. “Not in the history of United Nations representatives have we ever had a recess appointment, somebody who couldn’t get through a nomination in the Senate. And I think that that means that we will have less credibility and ironically be less equipped to reform the United Nations in the way that it needs to be reformed …’” (Bernard Schoenburg, “Bush Sends Bolton To U.N.; Durbin, Obama Criticize Move,” The State Journal-Register, 8/2/05)

In 2002, Biden Called Recess Appointment “A Very Bad Political Move” And “Not … A Smart Thing To Do.” “[T]here are a number of Democrats who have much, much more concern about Reich than I do, and I said … ‘But, Mr. President, this is not a wise thing to do …’ And I think it was a very bad political move on the president’s part, and I really regretted having happened. We’re going to have to now manage the fallout from this, and this was not a, respectfully speaking, smart thing to do, in my view.” (NBC’S Meet The Press, 01/13/02)

  • In 2005, Biden Said President Not Entitled To Appointment Of Any Nominee. “As I said, we don’t work for the president. And no president is entitled to the appointment of anyone he nominates. No president is entitled by the mere fact he has nominated someone. That’s why they wrote the Constitution the way they did: It says ‘advice and consent.’” (Sen. Joe Biden, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearing, 5/12/05)


In 2005, Pelosi Said That Recess Appointments “Subvert The Confirmation Process” And “Will Harm The United States’ Reputation In The Eyes Of The International Community”: “The President’s decision to circumvent the Senate and use a recess appointment naming John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations is a mistake….For President Bush to use a recess appointment for such a controversial nominee – not because there was a compelling case that Mr. Bolton was the best person for the job, but merely because the President had the power to do it – subverts the confirmation process in ways that will further harm the United States’ reputation in the eyes of the international community. The American people deserve better.” (Rep. Nancy Pelosi, “President’s Recess Appointment Of John Bolton Is A ‘Mistake,’” Press Release, 08/01/05)

In 2007, Reid Called Recess Appointments “An End Run Around The Senate And The Constitution.” “I will keep the Senate in pro forma session to block the President from doing an end run around the Senate and the Constitution with his controversial nominations.” (Sen. Harry Reid, Congressional Record, S.15980, 12/19/07)

  • **And Reid Thinks Recess Appointments “Are Mischievous.” **“Also, understand this: We have had a difficult problem with the President now for some time. We don’t let him have recess appointments because they are mischievous, and unless we have an agreement before the recess, there will be no recess. We will meet every third day pro forma, as we have done during the last series of breaks.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.7558, 7/28/08)


**Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) Says Recess Appointments “Ignore The Will Of The Senate.” **“When you have an appointment that is this critical and this sensitive, and the president basically says he’s going to ignore the will of the senate and push someone through, it really is troubling.” (Bernard Schoenburg, “Bush Sends Bolton To U.N.; Durbin, Obama Criticize Move,” The State Journal-Register, 8/2/05)

  • Durbin Says Recess Appointments “Unconstitutional” And “Confrontational.” “I agree with Senator Kennedy that Mr. Pryor’s recess appointment, which occurred during a brief recess of Congress, could easily be unconstitutional. It was certainly confrontational. Recess appointments lack the permanence and independence contemplated by the Framers of the Constitution.” (Sen. Durbin, Congressional Record, S.6253, 6/9/05)

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) Called Recess Appointments “Abuse [Of] The Power Of The Presidency.” “‘It’s sad but not surprising that this White House would abuse the power of the presidency to reward a donor over the objections of the Senate,’ Kerry said in a statement …” (Al Kamen, “Recess Appointments Granted to ‘Swift Boat’ Donor, 2 Other Nominees,” The Washington Post, 04/05/07)

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) Questioned Legality Of Recess Appointments, Called Them “Abuse Of Executive Authority.” “Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) said yesterday that he will ask the Government Accountability Office for a ruling on the legality of the unusual appointment, which he called ‘an abuse of executive authority …’” (Al Kamen, “Recess Appointments Granted to ‘Swift Boat’ Donor, 2 Other Nominees,” The Washington Post, 04/05/07)

  • Dodd Called Recess Appointments “Deceptive” And “Illegal”. “Dodd said Thursday that Fox’s appointment was ‘deceptive at best and illegal at worst,’ and he asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate.” (David Jackson, “Many Presidents Have Used The Recess Option,” USA Today, 04/05/07)

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) Said Recess Appointment “Shows Disrespect” To Senate. “Committee spokeswoman Leslie Phillips issued a statement on Lieberman’s behalf yesterday, saying that the ‘decision to recess appoint Susan Dudley shows disrespect’ for the Senate’s authority to advise and consent on nominations.” (Al Kamen, “Recess Appointments Granted to ‘Swift Boat’ Donor, 2 Other Nominees,” The Washington Post, 04/05/07)

**Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) Called Recess Appointments “Slap” To Institute Of The Senate. **“Judge Pickering was never confirmed by the Senate, but in a further slap to this institution, the President put him on the court through a recess appointment.” (Sen. Feingold, Congressional Record, S.13289, 10/24/07)

  • Feingold Feared Recess Appointments Place “Most Egregious And Political Leadership” In Major Executive Positions. “Is that what we want? It means most likely there will be recess appointments this winter for the 10 major leadership positions in the Department. And what does that mean? Simply stated: The administration could put in place the most egregious and political leadership, and we–the Senate–could do nothing about it. We would have reduced transparency and reduced congressional oversight.” (Sen. Feingold, Congressional Record, S.14158, 11/8/07)

**Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) Said Recess Appointments “Bend The Rules And Circumvents The Will Of Congress.” **“[E]ven while the president preaches democracy around the world, he bends the rules and circumvents the will of Congress’ at home.” (“President Sends Bolton to U.N.; Bypasses Senate,” The New York Times, 8/02/05)

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) Said Recess Appointments “Blindside” Senators. “People Are Concerned. With that in mind, Senate Democrats said they have little faith that Bush will play nice and refrain from making the controversial appointments. Democrats have been blindsided by Bush before, particularly in April when the president tapped three controversial nominees for executive branch slots…..’I think every time there’s a recess, people are concerned that the president might use that’ option, echoed Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), the Democratic Conference secretary.” (“Reid Mulls Pro Forma Sessions,” Roll Call, 11/15/07)

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