The Senate Health, Labor and Pensions Committee has approved President Barack Obama’s nominees to serve on the National Labor Relations Board. The nominees will next be considered by the full Senate. But Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), says he has strong reservations about one of the nominees, and led several Republicans in voting against him at an Oct. 20 committee meeting.
Before the committee vote, McCain said that he had no choice but to oppose the nomination of Craig Becker—a long-time union-side attorney—because the committee had not held a confirmation hearing, where questions about his views could be addressed. “This is a controversial nominee,” he said. Becker currently is associate general counsel to the Service Employees International union and the AFL-CIO.
Business groups have rallied against Becker’s nomination. In an Oct. 20 letter, groups ranging from the Associated General Contractors, the Associated Builders and contractors, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, among others, said that Becker’s writings about the national Labor Relations Act suggest that his views “are well outside the mainstream and would disrupt years of established precdent and the delicaste balance in current labor law.”
But Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), said that Becker’s written responses to the committee’s questions indicate that he would “approach the job with am impartial and open mind.”
The committee voted 15-8 to approve Becker’s nomination, along party lines. The committee approved the other two nominees—Mark Pearce, a long-time union-side attorney, a Democrat, and Brian Hayes, a Republican, who most recently has served as Labor Policy Director for Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wy.), by a voice vote.
McCain said he will place a hold on Becker’s nomination in the Senate. “I will do everything I can to block his confirmation in the U.S. Senate,” he said.