With Senate Democrats on the verge of changing Senate rules to block filibusters on executive branch nominees, Senate Republicans yesterday relented on their obstruction tactics that have blocked votes on several of President Obama’s nominees for key Cabinet and agency posts, including the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka:
Although it took an eleventh hour deal, a shimmer of light has broken through the extreme Republican obstruction in the Senate. It is finally time to end the unprecedented blocking of President Obama’s nominees, which has spanned more than 700 days. More important, a confirmed National Labor Relations Board will provide millions of workers with real protection of their rights to organize and bargain with their employers.
In the first confirmation vote after leaders of both parties announced an agreement, the Senate approved (66-34) Richard Cordray for director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He was first nominated by Obama in July 2011.
Other up or down votes are expected soon on Thomas Perez for secretary of labor; Gina McCarthy for administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; and Fred Hochberg as president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States.
News reports say that Republicans also have agreed to votes on two new nominees for the NLRB before Aug. 1 so the board will be able to operate with a quorum. Last night, Obama nominated Nancy Schiffer, former AFL-CIO associate general counsel, and Kent Hirozawa who is the chief counsel to the NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce.