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

Nelson joins GOP in opposition to Obama nominee

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/09/art.nelson.gi.jpg caption="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. The Constitutionalist

    Why do we even have the NLRB? Its predecessor (NLB) was struck down in 1933 by the Supreme Court because it was deemed unconstitutional. It was then forced into existence by FDR. The federal government has no authority to oversee union elections or to resolve labor issues. Read the Constitution.

    February 9, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  2. Pete East

    So we have come to the pass where “If you are not a staunch liberal you are just not a real Democrat”. Centrist Democrats and Independents take heed.

    February 9, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  3. Houff

    This line of posts illustrates a very common trait of democrats: if you disagree with them, not only are you wrong, you are evil, stupid, unpatriotic and not worthy of living. Seldom do democrats even consider the possibility that they may be wrong. All the while, the democrats call Republicans intolerant. Amazing.

    February 9, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  4. Chris I Dumbasrocks [R]s

    Would not surprise me in the least if this Torch commenter is a card carrying nazi.

    He's too anti-union, typical [R] trash.

    Hey "Obama Victim". Glad you are showing your colors for all to see....yes, keep cheering that your party of NO is blocking progress on America's problems. It is stunning, the level of delusion, hypocrisy and rightwing-hate that it takes to be a GOPer these days. You guys should go join the taliban....those two groups are a match made in heaven....maybe you'll even get access to the 40 virgins....what you really need though is access to some brains.

    February 9, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. GuyInVA

    Hey Majority Leader Reid, you should pass a law mandating the other 49 states pay Nebraska's Federal income tax from now on. That should bring him around.

    How much did Senator Landrieu's support cost?

    February 9, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. DAVE

    Obama is not a very smart man........................his pick for Labor is the equivalent of picking someone who is part of Al Queda to be head of our Homeland Security. This president needs to go.

    February 9, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  7. Jim

    What is the big deal about a union person representing the NLRB? The previous appointee was a lawyer who represented management in labor cases. Is it only OK to have big business represented in these appointments? or have someone who may represent the actual workers?

    February 9, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. twitwits are the new nitwits

    Nelson loves the pro-slavery movement his state and the rest of the South already have.Im sure he wants to start sharecropping again too.

    February 9, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  9. Lee in TN

    Why should this person be discriminated against because he represented a union for a fee? It shouldn't matter even if he belonged to a union. Bush appointed a known union hater and avowed union buster as his labor secretary. Where is the fairness and neutrality in that appointment?
    America needs to wake up and realize that it is not the worker in this country that is the problem, it is the ultra wealthy who produce nothing, yet want the American worker to raise their family on poverty level wages.

    February 9, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  10. CoolObserverInMD

    This guy is a Republican! There's no other way to spin it. Kick him out of the party and be done with.

    February 9, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. GFL

    Appointing a labor attorney to the Board is wrong. You know it, I know it, the American people know it. What we need is to have the CEO of AIG or BOA appointed. Then we can be assured of honest, faithful, non-corupt resolution of disputes between labor and corporations.

    February 9, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. NVa Native

    A Repub politician saying "NO" is news. Hah!
    What a joke these wanna-be thugs are. As bad as things are and we have a whole political party who is saying "NO" to everything, even funding our troops at war, for political gain. Disgusting!

    February 9, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  13. alphonso

    u doing what u got 2 do.i am a dem who understand!its better 2 have u n there then right wing idoit!its not 2 late 4 u but it prob is 4 senator lincoln

    February 9, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. Hayes Simmons

    Sen Nelson, you should become a republican, you know, if you are going to vote like a republican. (Also be re-elected)

    February 9, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. Jeff of Peoria

    He calls himself a CENTRIST?? OMG!!! If he had his way every business would be required to be a union.

    February 9, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. John

    So why should the unions not have any reprensentation on the board? Ya lets get rid of it all minimum wage, health care paid vacations and holidays and also socila security after all what did union solidarity do for any one. With them be driven by the wayside and out almost is gone. I for one have a fulltime job now contracted by the worlds largest employer and I HAVE no paid holidays, no paid vacations, no pay increrases ever, no rights except to leave, and no retirement. Oh Ya remember Bush and the republicans wanted to privatize that also well then maybe all the trash on here would be happy all would be gone! Get with reality for god sake!

    February 9, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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