Washington (CNN) - The Senate cleared dozens of backlogged Obama administration nominations Tuesday, including two appointments for the National Labor Relations Board that will allow it to operate with full membership for the first time in two and a half years.
Senators approved unanimously the appointment of Democrat Mark Pearce and Republican Brian Hayes to fill out the five-member board, which mediates labor-management disputes. Just last week, the Supreme Court ruled the NLRB acted without authority in more than 500 cases because it had just two members.
Action on the nominations came only after Democrats agreed to put off a vote on another NLRB member, Craig Becker, to a full five-year term on the board.
Becker, who Republicans adamantly oppose because of his long ties to labor unions, is currently serving temporarily on the board after getting a recess appointment from President Obama this spring. A recess appointment allows Becker to serve without Senate confirmation but his term will expire at the end of this congressional session in early 2011.
Democrats can still act to get Becker a full term on the board but it will require a lengthy floor debate to overcome a Republican filibuster.
The agreement over the NLRB positions allowed Senate Democrats andRepublicans to clear more than 60 other largely non-controversial appointments stalled over the NLRB standoff. They include members to the Amtrak board, the National Transportation Safety Board, judges to the District of Columbia Superior Court, and other positions.
The battles over Obama's nominees have been spirited in the last year with Democrats accusing Republicans of purposely delaying votes on the president's choices. Republicans say that's not true and accuse Democrats of trying to jam through controversial nominees without any debate.
The issue will be in the spotlight again Wednesday when the Senate Rules Committee meets to discuss ending the use of secret "holds" by senators to anonymously block nominations. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, announced late last week that she has the support of 67 senators to change Senate rules and ban the holds.
Despite the breakthrough Tuesday, dozens of other Obama nominations await Senate action, according to the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Becker is a labor union guy. He's too tainted to be able to mediate labor-management disputes. I can't even believe the Dems would suggest him.
It's about time. It must be election year and nobody wants to be blamed because they were the one who held up the nomination for the next agency we're going to need.
We won't forget – the fact that they were backlogged for no other reason than politics.
One partial day of work? And they make $175,000 per year?
Make them work every week end until ALL the work is done. They expect it of President Obama.
And Sen Hatch, I think people receiving government benefits (congressional perks included) should be happening - starting with Senators and Representatives IMMEDIATELY AND CONTINUED WEEKLY.
The only reasons why the GOP blocked all of Obama's nominations is because they want revenge on the Dems for blocking so many of Bush's nominations (nevermind the fact that he had some of the worst nominees) AND they want to make the Obama administration as ineffectual as possible
After a year and a half, why all of a sudden did the senate republicans release their super secret holds on the nominations?
Politics had nothing to do with backlogging the nominations. Obama just picked people that push his agenda. He should have looked for qualified people.
We don't need anymore liberal nuts running the country (into the ground).
WOOPTY-DO! Give the Obstructionists a cigar.
What happenned? Did you guys finally look in the electoral mirror and saw a bunch of worthless, traitorous, do-nothings? Scared about carrying this attitude too close to the election?
Bunch of pitiful snotrags.
On Senator Hatch's recommendation for drug-testing:
I think people getting drug tests if they are receiving government benefits (congressional perks included) should be happening – starting with Senators and Representatives IMMEDIATELY AND CONTINUED WEEKLY
Wow! is this the first actual work Republicans in the Senate have done since Obama was elected? That is quite the resume they have built up!
What the Republicans only want CEO's running things with diamond-plated gold spoons that play at their country clubs? Just because someone is a member of a union, that makes them unqualified?
Soon the Repud. will be saying a socialist board without knowing for over four hundred years in this country socialist and freedom live side by side. I wish some of these rightwinger respond to this.
This is no "victory" for the Obama administration!!
The NLRB now has to go back and re-litigate 500 cases that the rehtugliCANTs didn't like for cryin' out loud.
And a shout out to that moron Sen. Hatch the great state of LDS – Hey "Ornery", after that neocon hallucination of having the unemployed take drug tests to get their weekly unemployment checks maybe YOU should be drug tested each day that you show up for work in the Senate. It's obvious yor're on something...
Please let me explain something that the media seems to forget to say whenever Reid or Pelosi blame the republicans for blocking agenda items – THE DEMOCRATS HAVE THE MAJORITY!!
If they didn't have fellow democrats also voting against things, they could get whatever they want passed.
CNN's Mr. Barrett's article vs the head line???? If the head line was a leader into the written article, then it's terrible. Nothing except in the first sentence dealt with the nominations back log. If the head line was a true reflection of the article, then the article is terrible. Who were the other nominee's that were confirmed? The NLRB, by design is to have 2 members pro business and 2 members pro labor – that means on purpose. The third at the descretion of the President to appoint who they want. GET with the program, CNN and give us the article the head line promises. Marlene in Mich
WoW, the Obstructionist finally got out of the way? I guess they have made their point, The government isn't doing anything and that's why voters need to vote to bring more roadblocks to congress.
Are the rethugs groveling now and making up for the last year and a half because of bachman and barton and all those other party of NO reps who rather side with bp than the citizens of the US.
Say it ain't so but I am glad that they finally got off their fat behinds (most of them) and are doing something.
People, unions are in step with "control" ideals, which is what Obama wants to do to our entire country and to heck with the Constitution.