A Senate committee has approved President Obama’s three nominees to serve on the National Labor Relations Board. The next step would be consideration by the full Senate, but Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) says he has strong reservations about one of Obama’s choices, Democrat Craig Becker, a union attorney. McCain says he will put a “hold” on Becker’s nomination, blocking a floor vote.
The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Oct. 20 voted 15-8 along party lines to approve the nomination of Becker, currently associate general counsel to the Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO. By a voice vote, the panel also cleared the other two nominees: Democrat Mark Pearce, a long-time union attorney, and Republican Brian Hayes, who most recently has been labor policy director for Sen. Mike Enzi (Wyo.), the committee’s top GOP member.
McCain said he had no choice but to oppose Becker’s nomination because the committee had not held a confirmation hearing to allow senators to question Becker about his views. “This is a controversial nominee,” McCain said. “I will do everything I can to block his confirmation in the U.S. Senate.”
Business groups oppose Becker’s nomination. “It appears that Mr. Becker has a bias that’s pro-union and anti-employer,” says Denise Gold, associate general counsel for the Associated General Contractors.
Not surprisingly, organized labor supports Becker, and Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said that Becker’s written responses to the committee’s questions indicate he would “approach the job with an impartial and open mind.”