It isn’t just Richard Cordray. Obama is also set to use recess appointments to install his picks to the National Labor Relations Board, according to White House officials and others familiar with ongoing discussions.
The move, which is arguably as important as the Cordray appointment, will ratchet up opposition from Republicans and make this an even bigger fight, since they have been attacking the NLRB regularly for its moves to streamline union elections and inform workers of their rights.
Obama is set to appoint Sharon Block, Terence Flynn, and Richard Griffin to the board — something unions have made a big priority for them in the new year. Senate Republicans have opposed the recess appointments to the NLRB on constitutional grounds, but unions charge that Republicans are only interested in rendering the agency inoperative.
Obama’s move, which will help energize unions in advance of the 2012 election, is yet another sign that he is determined to circumvent GOP opposition and make government functional again by any means necessary. It’s another sign that the White House and Dems have abandoned the illusion that anything can be done to secure bipartisan compromise with Republicans on the major items on Obama’s agenda.
UPDATE: The statement from AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka:
We commend the President for exercising his constitutional authority to ensure that crucially important agencies protecting workers and consumers are not shut down by Republican obstructionism. Working families and consumers should not pay the price for political ploys that have repeatedly undercut the enforcement of rules against Wall Street abuses and the rights of working people.
UPDATE II: With the GOP likely to frame this latest as another Obama power grab, Travis Waldron offers a rebuttal:
Republicans have shown outrage at Obama for using his recess appointment powers with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray, and similar outrage is likely to follow the news of the NLRB appointments. But the past three Republican presidents also made recess appointments to the NLRB. Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush each made three recess appointments to the NLRB, while George W. Bush made seven such appointments.
UPDATE III: The wires are reporting that Obama has now made the appointments official.
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