February 9th, 2010
11:13 AM ET
5 years ago

Nelson joins GOP in opposition to Obama nominee

Sen. Ben Nelson will oppose President Obama's nominee for the National Labor Relations Board
Sen. Ben Nelson will oppose President Obama's nominee for the National Labor Relations Board

(CNN) - Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson joined Republican lawmakers in opposing President Obama's controversial nominee for the National Labor Relations Board.

Nelson said Monday he would vote against seating union lawyer Craig Becker on the five-member board because "he would pursue a personal agenda."

"This is of great concern, considering that the Board's main responsibility is to resolve labor disputes with an even and impartial hand. In addition, the nominee's statements fly in the face of Nebraska's Right to Work laws, which have been credited in part with our excellent business climate that has attracted employers and many good jobs to Nebraska," the Nebraska senator said in a statement.

Becker has served as an associate general counsel to the Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO. Republicans have stalled his nomination because of his union ties and concerns that he would sidestep Congress and make pro-union changes to the law.

In a statement before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee last week, Becker said "should I be confirmed, I will always remain faithful to the will of Congress."

He also said he has represented "not simply unions but also individual employees, belonging to no labor organization, in diverse trades and professions - from prison guards to retail clerks, from hospital administrators to home-care workers."

"Should I be confirmed, I will draw on in collaborating with my fellow board members to fairly, efficiently and faithfully apply the law," he said.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on cloture motion to end debate on the Becker nomination at 5 p.m. Tuesday. The vote was supposed to take place Monday but it was delayed due to the weather.

Obama said Tuesday that he is prepared to make several recess appointments during the upcoming congressional break if Congress fails to hold a vote on a number of stalled nominations.

Prior to Nelson's announcement, it appeared as if Republican Sen. Scott Brown could have cast his first decisive vote, now that the Democrats no longer have a 60-seat supermajority in the Senate. Brown defeated Democrat Martha Coakley last month in Massachusetts' special election to fill the late Edward Kennedy's Senate seat.


Filed under: AFL-CIO • Ben Nelson
soundoff (166 Responses)
  1. Torch

    Would not surprise me in the least if this Becker guy is a card carrying communist.

    He's too pro-union, typical Dem trash.

    February 9, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  2. smokey

    These people will stop at nothing in trying to derail Pres Obama..These should be ashamed of themselves, but at least one thing is now certanily true, racisim is very much alive and well in this country..But like my Pres Obama, and Dr King would say, the rightoues will prevail....I think alot of these people should not be re-elected, but rather put out to pasture to retire, and lets move on in the right direction for once in a lond while..

    February 9, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  3. Obama Victim

    Ben must have noticed those poll numbers in Nebraska...look for him to oppose Obummer on a lot of things...and his health care vote is history as well

    February 9, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  4. Fitz in Texas

    EVERYONE should vote against seating union lawyer Craig Becker. This is just a pay back Obama is doing for getting elected.

    February 9, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  5. johnrj08

    Nelson is a corrupt, dishonest little gnome.

    February 9, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  6. Mike

    Let's see, Mr. Nelson says Mr. Becker will pursue " a personal agenda." Thats like the pot calling the skillet black. Give Mr. Nelson some money for the Dump State of Nebraska and he will vote for him.

    February 9, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  7. Monster Zero

    Those terrible obstructionist GOPer's, next thing they'll be doing is selling their votes for unconstitutional special benefits for their States on the taxpayer dime. Hey, wait a second......

    February 9, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  8. one voice

    This proves that Mr. Nelson should be excluded from the health care talks also, became Corporate driven Mr. Nelson? Go for 51 votes of true Democrats only, this guy is a chump!!!

    February 9, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  9. Paul from Phoenix

    Obama promised no lobbyists or special interest people would work for him.

    How is this guy not considered special interest? It was a stupid promise to make, but if you are going to make the promise, you better stick to it.

    February 9, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  10. A. Goodwin

    Nelson is a closet Republican!

    Maybe I'm missing something, but wouldn't it be a good thing to have someone hold a position that know's a little someone about labor relations? I get the point that they are making – they want someone who is impartial. I think what they really fear is that he'll work for the lil' guy and not the big corporations who spend millions to fight unions.

    February 9, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. VernisRobertson

    Our world is becoming full of hate. People are already stress , why excite more hate. This not the time for political gain , do what's what's best for the American people who voted you in office. Prejudice should have no place in politics, these are people lives that these politicians are playing with , do thier care no.

    February 9, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. Zach K

    Eh, Whatever. Not really a big deal. I just hope Ben Nelson stays in the Senate. He does much more than all of the other Nebraska Congressman COMBINED.

    February 9, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  13. felicia

    I see cnn has just gotten so anti-Obama, It doesn't matter president Obama still the bomb and he's gonna get a second term whether you people like it or not. And as for the tea party i can't believe how much coverage cnn gave these racist fools. You people (cnn) know that they are racist pigs why indulge them. I really can't stand cnn anymore "literally"

    February 9, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  14. jules sand-perkins

    We do not need a union lawyer to speak for the government on matters of national labor relations!
    It is absurd to have to say that: I asked myself what President Obama was thinking about when he nominated such a lawyer, and the answer came immediately. We all know what the President was thinking about, and we all know the President's agenda for this country.

    February 9, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  15. Stop the Nonsense

    Sounds like the Senator is trying to build back some credibility after asking for earmarks in exchange for a vote on healthcare.
    We cannot expect change if we keep the status quo.
    We either give some of these proposals of people and ideas a chance or we will be right where we started in December od 2008.
    When do members of Congress say- we tried it one way for 8 years, now let's see what happens if we go the other way.
    This is not bashing anyone- but "change" only comes from change.

    February 9, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  16. Jim - PA

    As usual the Washington scumbag Congress never fails to amaze.

    February 9, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  17. Way to go Ben......

    first good thing you've done......keep it up....

    February 9, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  18. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    what a joke.... every person in Congress pursues a personal agenda..... DUH

    February 9, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  19. Cindy

    Ben Nelson is a real piece of work. So once again we will have a do nothing Senate. Nothing will get done because we do not have TERM LIMITS in this country. Term Limits are needed so badly and yet, the people that make the laws of our land will never pass a law on term limits for them. If we had term limits maybe something would get done in this country, and career politicians like Ben Nelson's would become a thing of the past!!

    TERM LIMITS~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    February 9, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  20. duckunder

    Poor Guy. He's looking to do anything to get re-elected. Hope the good people of Nebraska dump him.

    February 9, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  21. Lisa P

    Someone needs to ask Sen. Nelson, and the Republicans too, for that matter, how the Board is going to resolve disputes "with an even and impartial hand" when there is no representative of the workers at the table. Sounds like what they want is a paper tiger, not a fair and honest labor arbitration board. Shame on them!

    February 9, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  22. Four and The Door

    General Council to the SEIU and AFL-CIO?

    Obama's true allegiances show in bold faced type, here. This is a slap in the face of American business.

    February 9, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  23. gl, From Pittsburgh

    I hope Nelson lose his seat becasue he does nothing about abuse his power for his on grain. This man is insane.

    February 9, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  24. ran

    Nelson at it once again. More concern with keeping his job then doing what is right for all the people.

    I have my doubts but I do not see the ill informed voters of NE voting this guy out. I would rather see a Republican win his seat then to have him as a Democrat in name only who does all he can to undermine the democrat's agenda of helping the people.

    February 9, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  25. ronald e miller

    Ben nelson is a disgrace to the democrat party first he held out on the health care debate now he is opposing the presidents nomination for the n.a.l.b. Why doesn't ben just switch and become a repub he serves them better than his own party,this should tell the democrats something,go to 51 votes and tell ben to go fly a kite.

    February 9, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
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