Labor leaders 'fuming' over Scott Brown assuming Senate seat today 

Earlier this week, I noted that Democrats were frantically trying do some special favors for labor unions before Scott Brown was seated and Democrats lost their supermajority in the Senate. They succeeded in getting Patricia Smith, the Obama administration's nominee for Solicitor of Labor, through a party-line cloture vote, even though it's entirely likely she lied in her Senate testimony about a program she was involved in as New York's labor commissioner that unjustly benefited unions.

However, with Scott Brown being seated today and Democrats losing their supermajority, Big Labor may well have just seen their secret weapon shot down.

More than Smith, Big Labor had a lot riding on the nomination of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Becker, a lawyer for the AFL-CIO and the SEIU, authored a paper as a law professor about how the NLRB could be used to enact a sweeping overhaul of labor laws that would benefit unions, and all without congressional approval.

Becker dismissed questions about the paper saying he would be "practical" while serving on the NLRB. However, that seems dubious given how hard labor leaders were pushing his nomination. And Becker had already authored one of Obama's executive orders dealing with labor regulations. Not surprisingly, the executive order benefited unions.

But now that Brown has been seated, it's very probable that his nomination will be filibustered. After being unable to pass card check legislation and unhappy with the Democrats' proposed "cadillac tax" in health care legislation, Big Labor is going ballistic about the likely failure of Becker's nomination. According to Sam Stein at the Huffington Post, labor leaders are "fuming":

But the recriminations over granting Brown an early start date are already flying. Becker's nomination to the head of the NLRB was supposed to be considered while Democrats still had 60 votes. Party leadership had planned to hold a confirmation vote this week, multiple sources tell the Huffington Post.

But a series of delays, engineered primarily by Sen. John McCain (R-Ari.), pushed consideration back. And as things stand now, a full Senate vote on Becker will not take place before Brown is granted a vote -- leaving the nomination either completely dead or in deep peril.

"Democrats were outmaneuvered yet again," emailed a labor source who was granted anonymity to speak freely. "I'm used to us caving, but they didn't even [try to delay Brown's seating]. They just hit the mat.

"I love how we cave to the Republicans and won't seat our Senator, [Al] Franken. Then we reverse cave and seat their senator. I mean forget the analogy of one is playing checkers and the other playing chess. It's like one is playing chess while the other is sitting there picking their nose."

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Mark Hemingway

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