February 9th, 2010
11:13 AM ET
4 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. Shadysider

    These are the reasonable criticisms that fiscal conservatives can claim. Calling people nazis, socialists and the like only serves to push sensible people away from those who make those claims.

    February 9, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  2. Zenichi-maro

    I find it amazing that this concern would come up with a nominee who has union ties, but the MULTITUDE of cabinet members, senators, congresscritters, advisors, &c. with corporate ties are never questioned about that. Why the double standard? And why on earth would it be a problem for a fellow with a union background to be at the helm of the NLRB??? Do we really want another corporate shill calling the shots for working people? Give me a cosmic break. It's time that workers in America were given a fair shake. AIG got a bailout, their managers got huge bonuses. I got a %2.04 "raise" this year from my multibillion dollar employer.

    February 9, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    His ratings fell when he extorted funding for medicaid for his state, and the have fallen even more after he voted against healthcare.

    He's in deep dooo dooo. Goody goody goody

    February 9, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  4. gary davis harbor oregon

    NELSON needs to come out of the closet and tell the country he actually is a republican . more over because of his personal greed about his states health care , stupid man . selfish while the rest of the country suffers over health care costs , and CEO'S bonus's :)
    and the president is right we nee control over the health care insurance industry , and a public option would be wonderful . giving the industry compatition , at a fair rate :)

    February 9, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  5. gary

    Good for Nelson. He's got a tough re-election campaign in Nebraska coming up and knows the Cornhusker nation is watching every move he makes including voting on obozo's thugs. By the way libtards, you messiah's approval rating is down to 44% and sinking fast. lol

    February 9, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  6. WoW

    Typical President Obama. ALWAYS striking deals with the Unions. Good for you Senator Nelson. If I were a senator, I would vote against this as well. It isn't ethical.

    February 9, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  7. joe

    Congratulations senator. Forget your ties to the Democratic Party and realize who you would be appointing. We do not have enough problems in this country with Unions and their bloated pensions, this is a smart vote on your part...

    February 9, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  8. Sarah

    If the people of Nebraska vote for this man when he comes up for re-election, thinking that he is a democrat think again, this man is republican through and through......

    February 9, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. Mike in MN

    More evidence that the only oppositon to Obama is not just Republicans and that Obama is in bed with unions.

    February 9, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  10. Prevaricator

    At least Becker would make the workers' interest his top priority, unlike the former corporate shill.

    February 9, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  11. Jerry - Florida

    OMG! Senator Nelson finally did something right. Now, PLEASE don't sell your soul no matter the amount.

    Also, PLEASE don't follow President NObama and his moronic cronies over the cliff.

    My respect for you is gradually returning.

    Stay tuned...

    February 9, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  12. Mike - Las Vegas

    Looking for more Cornhusker kickbacks corrupt Senator Nelson?

    Nelson claims Becker "would pursue a personal agenda". Pot, meet kettle.

    February 9, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  13. Exxon

    We don't need his vote.

    February 9, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  14. AndyF

    Repubs and conservative Dems almost have us thinking accepting a wage of a $1/day so that we could be competitive with the rest of the world is being patriotic while their cronies, or they themselves, are laughing their way to the (Swiss) bank as they sell off America by the pound. So why bring labor concerns like outsourcing to places that pay $1/day, or being overworked without fair compensation, or under-representation in govt, into the equation? Middle class just has to accept that what's best for the country is to become a peasant class, at least that is what we get each time we let conservatives dictate how labor issues should be resolved. Folks, conservative have a mindset that people are but cogs to the captains of industry and only those captains interests should be protected as they are chosen by God to be in that position. I'm serious, I've heard enough right wingers actually state they think that, which is why they need to start being viewed as Nazis, not some moral voice.

    February 9, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  15. James

    The right to work states are misleading workers with a false sense of security. They attract companys with tax abatements and and non union labor in order to line their Republican pockets with the blood sweat and tears of hard working people. I would hope that people would get a fair wage, health benefits and a safe environment to work in. This however can only happen if you have a union. Union membership has declined dramatically over the past decade and without the threat of organizing unions at plants such as Nissan, Honda and Toyota, There will be a reduction in wages and Benefits at those plants in order to make more profits. Who wins? The companys and States {right to work states} Who loses? The American workers!

    February 9, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  16. inofritzn

    Scum-bag union sheep! I hope their demise is approaching. Another stupid pick by an increasingly stupid white house.

    February 9, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Has Nelson talked to this guy? I doubt it for some reason. I hope that this guy would get something that many Obama nominees are denied - a chance to talk to the Senators and get their vote (up or down). There is no need to block it any more. Just because he was employed by the union doesn't mean that he will always favor them.

    February 9, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  18. Roger

    Ben Nelson just help deny all US Citizens of health care....by saying he was so conservative YET to get his vote it would cost the entire other 49 states to pay for Nebraska's health care which was HORRIBLE...I hope the citizens of Nebraska remember this at election time, after the health care ordeal I have NO respect for this man...Now he again is being a turn coat, I hope he leaves our party & joins up with the wackos that he acts like....

    February 9, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  19. Pragmatic

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

    Now he's a mind reader? Just join the GOP and be done with it!

    February 9, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  20. RAY IN NJ

    Why doesn't this guy just switch parties and stop pretending to be a Democrat?! After all he certainly has the standard GOP haircut...

    February 9, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  21. Librarian

    How come this midget, from the least populated states in this country has such powers ? Join the GOP, moron !

    February 9, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  22. Rickster

    lolol....Nice try, Ben but it's not going to save your political skin. You, like so many other democrats, hitched your wagon to the Loser-In-Chief Barack Obama and, just as conservatives predicted, he has led you right over the cliff.

    February 9, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  23. Howard

    He's just looking for another "brib" from Harry Reid for his vote.
    Does Obama research the background of ANY of his nominees or is he really this naive to think this guy would be a good choice? Best case for Obama is that his staff does a Lousy job of vetting his nominees.

    February 9, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  24. jeff

    Ben has got to go and the Democratic Party has to stop supporting people who don't support it. It is time to tell the party that there will be no more contributions unless they start enforcing discipline. I am tired of progressive policies of the party being derailed by DINO's and WILL NOT SUPPORT the party that abets these traitors. It is an embarassment that someone like Joe Lieberman has a sub-committe chair while supporting the Pubican presidential candidate and Pubican obstructionism.

    February 9, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  25. J.Williams san diego

    Just what we need, a union goon on the NLRB...Might as well get 5 Acorn members nominated too.

    February 9, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
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