- Congressman: McAuliffe victory means gun control a winning message
- Clinton aide admits soliciting disgraced D.C. fundraiser; says actions were legal
- Joel Osteen church victimized in $600K theft
- Obama goes shopping at Gap as minimum-wage thanks
- N.J. woman charged after client dies from black-market butt injections
- CIA chief Brennan ‘determined’ to speak out more this year
- Reset? What reset? U.S.-Russia ties at worst since Cold War
- 9/11 terror recruiter released in Syrian prisoner swap
- D.C. elections board gives green light to marijuana legalization initiative
- Elephants can tell difference between human languages: study
Recess picks taint NLRB, says GOP
President Obama’s recess appointments to fill the National Labor Relations Board are operating on “shaky ground” and any rulings they participate in will be “tainted,” a key House Republican warned Tuesday.
House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline, Minnesota Republican, said Mr. Obama’s decision to name three NLRB members last month as recess appointments created a “constitutional crisis” because the Senate was in pro forma session at the time.
“Make no mistake, every action taken by the board will be tainted,” he said.
But House Democrats and one witness at the hearing argued the recess appointments were a necessary constitutional evil required to move beyond the “congressional squabbles” and keep the agencies functioning in order to protect workers and consumers.
The hearing was the first public airing of House GOP anger over the appointments at the NLRB, which has become a political flash point between the Obama administration and congressional Republicans. Mr. Obama also angered GOP lawmakers by installing a chairman of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
“I would not have made these recess appointments,” he said. “This was a very bad idea, and a very bad precedent by the president.”
The Obama administration defended the recess appointments, saying the Senate was holding essentially sham sessions to frustrate the president’s nominations.
“I think everybody here agrees the president has the power to make recess appointments,” Mr. Kline said. “There is clearly a difference of opinion as to whether he has the power to make recess appointments while the Senate was in a pro forma session.”
The Minnesota Republican said the uncertainty over the legitimacy of Mr. Obama’s appointees will only cast a further cloud over the struggling economy. Employers and unions alike will be unsure whether the board’s rulings could be reversed if a court challenge to Mr. Obama’s appointments is upheld.
House Republicans and several witnesses noted that the Senate extended the payroll-tax cuts on Dec. 23, and the president signed the bill, during the year-end pro forma session. So they argue the Senate was, in fact, conducting business and could not have been in recess.
“Either the payroll-tax cut passed by the Senate during a pro forma session is the law of the land and the recess appointments are invalid, or 170 million Americans are receiving tax relief unlawfully and the appointments should stand,” Mr. Kline reasoned. “No amount of legal manipulation can allow the president to have it both ways.”
During the George W. Bush administration, Senate Democrats did the same thing, holding the chamber formally in session during breaks to prevent recess appointments.
Republicans argue the precedent should go both ways, but Democrats on Tuesday sided with the White House.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Tim Devaney is a national reporter who covers business and international trade for The Washington Times. Previously, he worked for the Detroit News, Grand Rapids Press, Portland Press Herald and Bangor Daily News. Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Dysfunction, disarray at Homeland Security management cited in IG's report
- GM's Barra to be first woman to run top American carmaker
- Treasury sells last shares in 'Government Motors'
- U.S. businesses reach out quickly to partners in Iran
- General Motors ending Chevrolet sales in Europe to focus on Opel and Vauxhall
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
An America drowning in red ink is the land of the free no more
- Inside the Beltway: A new interest in Rahm Emanuel for 2016?
- David Jolly wins in Florida, GOP keeps swing district seat
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- HURT: John Kerry The ridiculous face of a ridiculous U.S. diplomacy
- Brennan: Russia 'absolutely' could invade eastern Ukraine
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- LOZANSKY: World War III over Ukraine, anyone?
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- CARNES: Kissinger's flawed and offensive analysis of Ukraine
- Minister sees breakthrough 'in months' for long-split Cyprus
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again