After last week’s court decision holding that President Obama abused his recess appointment powers, Republican senators introduced a bill Thursday to enforce the ruling by stripping two boards of their ability to do business.
The bill would halt the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from doing any business that requires the consent of the NLRB’s board or the CFPB’s director — both of which have been called into question by the decision of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit last week.
Mr. Obama last year made recess appointments of three members to the NLRB and named a director to the CFPB at a time when the Senate considered itself to still be meeting and not in recess.
The court ruled that the Senate was not in a recess when the vacancies in the two boards arose and that it wasn’t in recess when Mr. Obama made the appointments — both of which were required for the picks to be valid.
“Only in his mind were we in recess,” Sen. Mike Johanns, Nebraska Republican, said Thursday.
The court’s ruling came in a case challenging an NRLB decision. They held that since the appointments were illegal, the board didn’t have a quorum and so its decision was invalid. Their decision applies only to that one decision, but the Republicans said it calls into question everything else both the NLRB and CFPB have done since the appointments last January.
“These agencies have been operating under a ruse for more than a year. Any decisions or regulations made by the people who have no right to be there are invalid,” said Mr. Johanns, who introduced the bill along with Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and John Cornyn of Texas.
Mr. Alexander told reporters the embattled board needs to post “Help Wanted” signs and compared the invalidation of the appointments to the American Revolution’s fight against tyranny and the reason George Washington asked to be named “president” and “not something stronger.”
Mr. Johanns and Mr. Alexander were among 40 senators who signed a letter on Thursday that urges NLRB board members Sharon Block and Richard F. Griffin Jr. to immediately leave the board and “stop drawing salaries and other benefits associated with the positions you purport to hold.”
The Nebraska senator also rebuffed claims that the Senate had been reluctant to consider any of Mr. Obama’s nominations for the board. Among future nominees, he would like to see someone who is neither pro-labor nor pro-business.
“Just be fair,” Mr. Johanns said. “I don’t think that’s too much to ask.”
• Staff Writer Tom Howell Jr. contributed to this article.