Employment Law Report

Senate HELP Committee Approves Craig Becker’s Nomination on a Party-Line Vote

By Edwin S. Hopson

The Senate Heath, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) voted today to approve the nomination of Mr. Craig Becker to be a Member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in a 13 to 10 party-line vote.  This is closer than the HELP Committee’s previous vote on his nomination in the last session of Congress when Senator Michael Enzi, the ranking Republican on the committee, and Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski voted for Mr. Becker.  Today, both Senator Enzi and Senator Murkowski voted against him.

This may make confirmation by the full Senate more difficult for Mr. Becker.  Senator-Elect Brown, Republican of Massachusetts, was sworn in at 5 p.m. on February 4, 2010 eliminating the Democrates’ 60 vote majority in the Senate which could have prevented an almost certain filibuster against Mr. Becker’s nomination.

Should Mr. Becker’s nomination fail, then the “package” of NLRB nominations, which included Mark Pearce, a Democrat, and Brian Hayes, a Republican,  may well also fail to be voted upon. Thus, the NLRB would have to continue to operate with only 2 Members.