February 9th, 2010
11:13 AM ET
8 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. sgurdog

    Time for recess appointments. Obviously, Congress can't do their jobs any longer.

    February 9, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  2. Steve (the real one)

    Senator Nelson just unleased a flood of liberal hatred. I thought the Dems were the Big Tent party, the party of tolerance. What happened to that? Libs keep calling the GOP the party of big corporations. Well since this guy has SEIU ties, is it fair to call the Dems the big union party? I think so!

    February 9, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  3. mario

    The elephant in the room

    February 9, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  4. Rick Washington state

    I tend to vote Democrat, but anyone associated with the SEIU gets no standing in my book. In Washington they are the driving force behind organizing home health care workers. I do not support him and I hope none of my senators or representative do either.

    February 9, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  5. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    Obama and his nominees are connected to their power brokers and $$$$$$ donors. The banks, the unions, big corporations......

    Always follow the money to see who is pulling the strings.

    Is this the Change? Sounds more like the Status Quo.

    February 9, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    Unions have long ago, exceeded their reasonable demands, and this has created industries that can no longer compete in world markets, forcing the loss of jobs to overseas sources.

    They have literally, cut their own throats.

    February 9, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  7. David

    Thank you, Sen. Nelson, for looking out for the people you serve. More senators and representatives should be doing the same.

    February 9, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. Grog in Ohio

    Nelson is apparently begging to get "primaried".... Good luck...

    February 9, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  9. Black Viper

    This guy is so despicable and very ungreatfull. If it wasn't because of Obama and a huge democrat turn out in 2008 he would have never been a senator because he was in a very close race in Nebraska until Obama decided to run and basicaly done the campaign job for him.
    Now he is trying to stub the president on the back because of his political ambitions.
    He thinks he can please or get votes from the GOP hatte filed voters by opposing the president and forget his democratic base. Political stupidity.

    February 9, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  10. Rob Selby

    I hope Ben Nelson gets killed in a car crash today:)

    February 9, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  11. Bubble of Sanity

    Don't worry about it. Harry Reid will offer him a hundred billion for Nebraska, and he will have a change or heart. It's only money, after all.

    February 9, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  12. single mom

    Anyone want to place bets that Nelson 'flips' parties by summer? He'll do it for the same reason Specter did – to hold onto his seat. I don't think it will help him anymore than it will Specter, but these are politicians. They don't think the way the voters do.

    February 9, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  13. rgb in MN

    Although i share a last name with him, that's it for similarities.
    He should withdraw, and should not have been a candidate for this impartial board. Maybe he can resume trips to the WH with his boss.

    February 9, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  14. ttbala

    You know what Mr Nelson, shame on you, you are even worse than any hatefull repub in the Senate, because at least the Repubs have principles, don't get me wrong the only principal the Repubs have is to stick together on anything bad or good, because they do not have any ideas, but Ben you are worse than the repubs because you do not even hvae these principals, shame on you to make such a headline just because you need to be re-elected, I hope a hateful Repub beats you so we can get rid og germs like you, you are not worthy of this position.

    February 9, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  15. Pounder

    After the PORK Nelson got for his vote on health care reform no one should be surprised by his actions. MY solution, let him change his party .He is as conservative as any fat cat republican anyway. Who would he support for the NLRB? Rupert Murdoch ???

    February 9, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  16. Monrob

    Nooooooooooooooo, not Nelson again. Nebraska take him awayyyyyyyyyyyy.

    February 9, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  17. Jane/Seattle

    U-N-I-O-N is the key Word here! Heaven Forbid that Workers Could get any Rights or even a livable Wage in 21st Century America – The Land of the Corporation, By the Corporation and For the Corporation!

    February 9, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  18. Slider

    If you are expecting anything "even and impartial" from Obama, Sen. Nelson, then you and the rest of the moderates and independents can count on being hoodwinked for the next three years.

    Obama gets it. It's just that the American people don't want to play along.

    Obama better get used to disappointment.

    February 9, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  19. Shadysider

    Union pension plans of government funded jobs are serving to bankrupt municipalities, cities, and states and putting undue weight on all taxpayers. I can't disagree with their criticism.

    February 9, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  20. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Between the health care arm twisting deal and this, Ben Nelson should be stripped of all committee memberships and the Democrats should immediately find a new Senatorial candidate to run against him in the primary.

    February 9, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  21. B

    This guy is symbolic of what some politicians have become now !

    Amoral, greedy, selfish, and egotistical partisans...

    February 9, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  22. Ben in Texas

    The motives of politicians seem transparent to me when they have no qualms at all about rich people organizing themselves into corporations but get queasy about poorer people organizing themselves into unions.

    Corporations are extolled by these guys as the force that drives employment and the economy (never mind the fact that it also gives them the power of life and death over the employees).

    On the other hand, unions are portrayed as universally anti-American and destructive of jobs and the economy, despite the fact that often they are the only thing standing between an oppressive corporation and out-and-out wage slavery.

    February 9, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  23. confused voter LOL

    Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson all he want is to save his seat. He can see the storm coming and he is looking for shelter . We will see other democrats doing the same think. And obama agenda will be no more. this is funny first was democrat against democrat this past year .and now is going to be democrats and republicans against democrats? Can’t get any better then that. LOL

    February 9, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  24. Total BS

    These are the retards that are in the Dem.party.Please switch to the GOP or the GOP Tea Baggers !!

    February 9, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  25. Fair is Fair

    It ought to be hilarious watching liberals foam at the mouth over this.

    Remember... you always tell conservatives that the "beauty" of your party is that you can disagree among yourselves... that is, UNTIL you disagree among yourselves. Then all heall breaks loose.

    Just witness the vile comments about Nelson to prove my point.

    February 9, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
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