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. D.U.T.C.H.

    Bye Bye Sen. Nelson. This will be your last term as a democratic senator. We don't want yor centrist/conservative a$$ anyway. Go back to your cornhusker state and stay out of politics.

    February 9, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. Conservative Voice

    A union laywer appointed to labor relations board? Now THAT'S transparency....and a conflict of interest...wow another political payback for the SEIU....Way to Old School the politics Obama...Chicago machine old school...this is a change we can believe in?

    February 9, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  3. Texas Jack

    I am against anything that walk on water proposes.

    February 9, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. SC-Pub "no" more

    Nelson IS a GOPer...

    February 9, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  5. Liberal wing nut

    Ya that's all we need is more GM bankrupting unions!

    February 9, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  6. Angie in PA

    Please Democrats send this Moron over to the dark side THE PARTY OF NO!

    February 9, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. Ron in California

    If confirmed i will always be faithful to the will of Congress....Scary.

    February 9, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. Steph

    CNN – please list ALL of the nominations the entire group of Republicants have opposed. Our country can't run without these appointments, and the Republicans are making sure no one is appointed without 60 votes. This is insane!

    February 9, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  9. Use your head

    Good. The nominee is a UNION LAWYER. Don't even the dimmest of democrats see that there is a conflict of interest (pro union leader with government backing vs. companies).

    Plus, has anyone else noticed that 'right to work' states are doing much better economically than union states. Unions had their place in history, but too much has changed and they are now more of a hinderance to progress than a help.

    February 9, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  10. vdtcat

    What is it he wants .....more money again?

    February 9, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. Carl Justus

    I want anyone to show me ONE JOB A so called right to work law created.

    The Taft/Hartley act gives any and all companies or individuals to hire anyone they want to hire and there is no law or group who can stop that. If a union tried to stop a company from hiring a person they wanted, the union would be sued for a secondary boycott and fined and the company would still get to hire anyone it wanted.

    All a so called right to work law does is to tell the businesses they can pay substandard wages and if that is the only place you can get a job, then you are at the mercy of the business and the idiot politicians who advocate substandard wages for their citizens. Nelson must be proud of the substandard wages he and the rest of so called Nebraska leaders have made their citizens take to have a job.

    If Nelson and others who think that so called right to work laws are good, they should enact them for congress so they government could cut the wages of the so called congress person (masquerading as leaders) to half what they are now making and see how long the so called right to work law stays in affect.

    February 9, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  12. lovable liberal

    Kill the filibuster.

    February 9, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. Perry

    Conservatives will do anything so that business, especially big business, can continue the wild west atmosphere in the business world today. No rules. Survival of the fittest. Gordon Gekko rules. Exploit who you will because there is no law against it. The only analogy I can think of to explain the effects of such thinking is society suddenly dropping all of its criminal laws. Its a free for all.

    I think most people would agree that capitalism is the best economic system. But like anything else, human nature must be taken into account. You have to have rules that protect our common interests. The rule should be make as much as you like without screwing the people. Call it Capitalism 2.0.

    Exploitation of the rules is one reason why Washington does not work. Over the years, the weaknesses of that system have been discovered and exploited. Yet conservatives by definition want to keep the status quo. Since they believe in survival of the fittest, they should understand the saying "change or die".

    February 9, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  14. Old White Virginia Female

    I agree with Jeff. These Republicans parading around in Democrat clothing need to be unseated and replaced with honest to God Democrats. Anyone who would support the notion of a Right to Work state should be removed from public office. Unfortunately I live in one!

    February 9, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  15. Mike in MN

    Oh boy, more Blue Dog opposition to Obama. Obama will be rushing to find a TV camera to stand in front of and blame this on Republican obstruction. And then he will meet behind closed doors and offer Nelson a bribe to change is mind.
    The Obama, Pelosi, Reid liberal progressive agenda is over. Sooner if Obama is sincere about working with Republicans and moves to the right to do so. Or later in November if he is not, and voters restore the house to the Republicans and add 4 to 7 Repubicans to the Senate.
    Either way a majority of center right voters have rejected Obama's liberal/progressive agenda. It is over whether he wants to admit it or not. The November elecitons will remove any doubt.
    Independents know that the last time we had a balanced budget was when voters restored the House and Senate to Republicans and President Clinton moved to the right to work with them. The result was a strong economy and a balanced budget. Clinton would have never moved to the right and embrassed fisical responsiblity without the Republican take over of Congress. Independents are well aware of this fact.

    February 9, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  16. Eric in Denver


    February 9, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |

    YOU, CNN, will NEVER understand that it's not a Republican or Democrat problem we have in society today. It's a HUMANITY Issue.


    February 9, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  18. tlc

    Good for Nelson. Anyone that says Becker would be objective and equitable is either a liar or a moron. When combined, both words describe a true dumbocrat.

    February 9, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  19. Eric in Denver

    Wow a corrupt lawyer defending a corrupt union system, now that makes a ton of sense. Barry would try to appoint Hitler and Marx if they were still alive!!!

    February 9, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  20. ToughLove

    Fanaticism from the left or the right is dangerous. The President has only been in office one year and he's shown himself to be corrupt, a liar and an extreme idealogue...and Nelson can't distance himself enough. Americans are truly afraid of what this administration is trying to accomplish–and it's not a left or right thing. It's the fear of this nation being redefined.

    February 9, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  21. MsDp

    CNN, what else is news? I hope he don't think he's gonna get another deal for his state!!!!

    February 9, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  22. gary

    smokey- people are seeing obozo for what he is and do not want to follow him down the path of marxism and socialism. You are brainwashed and blinded by your race.

    February 9, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  23. Padraig

    Good for Nelson, he has stood up for the State of Nebraska, who he works for. He doesn't work for the President or anyone else outside his constituents.

    Some people who post need to take civic classes to understand how the political process is suppose to work.

    A communist? Really? If he was, he would be with Obama.

    February 9, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  24. John in WV

    As a union member for over 30 years, I watched many workers loose their jobs because Labor Relations Members favored corporate interests over what was good for employees. Because we were not allowed to strike, we worked for years without contracts because republican appointed board members, looking out for their own personal agendas, would not negotiate in good faith. Now Nelson and his repub buddies want the American people to believe that if a union lawyer is appointed, disputes will not be settled fair and impartial. They very seldom ever have. Chalk up another NO from the party of NO and a few whose lack of testicle fortitude allows them to straddle the fence.

    February 9, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  25. Roger

    Obama, you can't be trusted!!! It is pitiful how you to keep trying to deceive the American people either through your own propaganda or through your appointments. Wake up, American see through you loud and clear. You speak of democracy and the protection of its values and yet your actions are just counter to our most treasured form of government. Stop pandering to unions and other special interest groups and start catering to the American people. Enough of your trickery to attain your devious agenda.

    February 9, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
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