- The Washington Times - Monday, April 8, 2013

The Republican-led House will take up a measure this week that would conditionally shut down the National Labor Relations Board in a move aimed at stopping President Obama from tilting the panel too far to the political left.

Republicans drafted the bill in reaction to Mr. Obama’s appointments last year of three members to the board when the Senate was in recess action designed to circumvent rules that require the upper chamber to approve presidential nominations of senior federal officials.

Republicans have accused the president of abusing his power in an attempt to stack the independent board, which resolves complaints of unfair labor practices, with pro-union members.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in January that Mr. Obama acted unconstitutionally when he bypassed the Senate to install the three members. One of his three “recess appointments” resigned last year.

The NLRB says it plans to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. The board has until April 25 to file an appeal.

The House bill would prevent the NLRB from taking action until the depleted five-seat panel has a quorum, or until the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of Mr. Obama’s 2012 appointments.

The board can issue decisions only when it has at least three sitting members. With the appeals court invalidating Mr. Obama’s appointments, Chairman Mark Pearce is the panel’s only undisputed member.

The House Rules Committee on Wednesday will markup up the bill, which could hit the House floor for a vote as early as Thursday. The Education and the Workforce Committee last month voted along partisan lines to approve the measure.

“The best way to avoid further damage is for the president to work with the Senate to confirm a full slate of qualified nominees,” Mr. Kline said. “In the meantime, Congress must take action to prevent a bad situation from becoming much worse.”

Democrats counter that the Republican effort to shut down the NLRB is nothing more than an anti-union tactic, saying such a move would curtail worker rights by not allowing final adjudications on workplace disputes and union elections.

They add that Mr. Obama made the January 2012 recess appointments only after Senate Republicans blocked his choices for the board.

“This bill is a frontal assault on collective bargaining in this country,” said Rep. Robert E. Andrews of New Jersey, the senior Democrat on the Education and Workforce subcommittee on health, employment, labor and pensions. “The outrage from the Republicans is all about politics, not about so-called uncertainty that they have created themselves.”

The White House and the board say the appeals court decision goes against more than 150 years of practice. If it stands, the decision would mean that more than 285 recess appointments made by presidents since 1867 were invalid, The Associated Press reported.

While the bill likely will pass the GOP-run House, it would almost certainly die in the Democrat-controlled Senate.