Press Releases

Press releases are archived according to their release date. For press releases by topic, please see the Issue Positions page.

WASHINGTON – In a letter sent today, all 47 Senate Republicans called on President Obama to not recess appointment Sharon Block and Richard Griffin to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Last week, it was announced that President Obama withdrew the nomination of NLRB Member Craig Becker, who was recess appointed after he failed to be confirmed by the Senate, after a controversial tenure on the Board. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) spearheaded the letter. 

In the letter, the Senators write that “Appointments to the NLRB have traditionally been made through prior agreement of both parties to ensure that any group of nominees placed on the board represents an appropriate political and philosophical balance.” The Senators noted that the “controversial recess appointment of NLRB Member Craig Becker is an example of an NLRB nominee having been appointed over the objection of the Senate and the result of that decision has been unending controversy throughout Member Becker’s entire term on the Board and, which has undermined the credibility of the entire NLRB.”

The Senators particularly urged the President not to attempt to appoint Ms. Block and Mr. Griffin during the brief mandatory adjournment of the Senate in between sessions of Congress as some of the President’s allies have publicly suggested he do with other nominations.  According to the Senators, doing so would “set a dangerous precedent that would most certainly be exploited in future cases to further marginalize the Senate’s role in confirming nominees” and that such a maneuver “could needlessly provoke a constitutional conflict between the Senate and the White House.”

The full text of the letter is below:

December 19, 2011

President Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, DC

RE: NLRB Nominations


Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to urge you not to undermine the Senate’s advice and consent role by attempting to place your recently announced nominees to National Labor Relations Board, Sharon Block and Richard Griffin, in those positions through recess appointments.  Moreover, we urge to instead allow for a full and thorough review of their qualifications through regular order in the Senate.  

Appointments to the NLRB have traditionally been made through prior agreement of both parties to ensure that any group of nominees placed on the board represents an appropriate political and philosophical balance.  Indeed, the very statutory design of the Board is meant to ensure a basic level of bipartisanship in the appointment of Members.  As you are undoubtedly aware, appointments to Board that depart from this tradition have resulted in some of the most contentious, divisive struggles we face in the Senate.  Your controversial recess appointment of NLRB Member Craig Becker is an example of an NLRB nominee having been appointed over the objection of the Senate and the result of that decision has been unending controversy throughout Member Becker’s entire term on the Board, which has undermined the credibility of the entire NLRB.

We urge you to avoid attempting to give your latest NLRB nominees - Ms. Block and Mr. Griffin - recess appointments at any point, especially during the mandatory adjournment between sessions of the 112th Congress, which will undoubtedly be very brief.  While some have publicly suggested doing so would be an appropriate course of action with regard to other nominations, it would, at the very least, set a dangerous
precedent that would most certainly be exploited in future cases to further marginalize the Senate’s role in confirming nominees and could needlessly provoke a constitutional conflict between the Senate and the White House.

We are certain that we all want to avoid any further conflict over additional recess appointments to the NLRB. It would be especially unfortunate if the Senate was never given an opportunity to fully explore their qualifications and suitability to be Members of the NLRB through a careful and deliberative hearings and confirmation process. 

Thank you for your attention regarding this important matter. 

Sincerely,

# # #