- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The White House said President Obama might allow the government to shut down Friday if Congress includes a measure in the budget to reverse a National Labor Relations Board ruling that broadens employers’ liability for labor violations.

“We obviously would be opposed to any effort by Republicans in Congress to insert that measure in the budget bill,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday.

The president’s spokesman wouldn’t specify whether the so-called NLRB “rider” — an amendment to the pending appropriations bill to keep the government running — would draw a presidential veto. But Mr. Earnest strongly suggested that Republicans’ efforts to repeal NLRB rulings, including a move to end unionizing “ambush elections,” are among the items most likely to force a shutdown showdown with the White House.

“The notion that Republicans are prepared to shut down the government, and … unless the president goes along, and Democrats in Congress go along with their effort to make it harder for workers at a fast-food company to organize collectively to advocate for higher wages,” Mr. Earnest said, “is [in] some ways the best example of Republicans’ misplaced priorities.”

Lawmakers are facing a Friday deadline for completing overall appropriations, although Congress and the White House agreed on a total spending level for the fiscal 2016 budget earlier this fall. The White House said Mr. Obama will not sign a short-term extension of the budget to keep the government open, unless negotiators need only a day or two more to complete procedural steps.

Republicans, and reportedly some Democrats, are pushing for a provision to reverse the NLRB‘s “joint employer” liability rule. The agency’s ruling, issued in August, said companies can be held responsible for labor violations committed by their contractors.

The ruling dealt with a waste-management company, but analysts said the decision could have implications for franchise companies and could hurt businesses ranging from restaurants to retailers to manufacturers.

Previously, NLRB decisions stated that employers were only responsible for employees who were under their direct control.

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